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Surfers make their way to the Trestles surf break at San Onofre State Beach. Photo by Brett Shoaf
Surfers make their way to the Trestles surf break at San Onofre State Beach. Photo by Brett Shoaf

By Jim Shilander

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) introduced a bill last month that would give the Department of the Navy control over the Trestles surf break. If passed, the bill potentially eliminates chances the Upper and Lower breaks could be designated on the National Registry of Historic Places.

The south Orange and northern San Diego County representative introduced “The Military Land and National Defense Act” in December. It supports the Navy’s objection to a proposal that would place a historic designation on the beach, which is used by the U.S. Marine Corps for training.

The Navy previously stated such a designation could prevent certain military training exercises from moving forward. The historic label push has been used by opponents of the 241 Toll Road extension.

While the Navy owns the land, it has leased it to the state for public use, meaning beachgoers and military personal share San Onofre State Beach, even during training exercises. The lease expires in 2021.

The bill would amend the National Historic Preservation Act giving managing federal agencies of properties a right to block a historic designation for reasons of national security. Properties could be excluded from the list until objections are withdrawn.

The bill has been assigned to the House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee. A hearing has not been scheduled. The bill has 17 co-sponsors.

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