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Judge delays ruling that would have blocked Fourth of July fireworks off La Jolla [Updated]

June 3, 2011 |  5:27 pm

Fireworks A San Diego County Superior Court judge late Friday delayed an earlier order that might have blocked the Fourth of July fireworks show off La Jolla, a popular part of the holiday for two decades.

At the urging of the San Diego City Council, Judge Linda B. Quinn delayed until Aug. 31 her earlier ruling that fireworks displays over water must meet the California Environmental Quality Act and that the city, in issuing a fireworks permit, is responsible for ensuring that any environmental damage done by fireworks be mitigated.

Fireworks boosters have complained that they would not have enough time to do the kind of environmental examination required by the 1970 law. Quinn had issued her ruling May 27 in response to a lawsuit by the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation of suburban Encinitas.

That ruling, and the foundation's continued litigation on the fireworks issue, had brought a protest from Mayor Jerry Sanders. The La Jolla fireworks each year draws a large crowd; last year, a Marine Corps band was part of the celebration.

Foundation attorney Marco Gonzalez said his group may appeal Quinn's delay of her ruling. He blamed the city and the fireworks organizers for dragging out the litigation.

Gonzalez said that regardless of whether the La Jolla fireworks happen this year "there will be significant changes in the way the city handles these events going forward, and that has been our goal all along."

[Updated at 5:50 p.m.: Mayor Sanders hailed Friday's ruling. "The idea that a once-a-year fireworks display poses a threat to the environment defies both common sense and scientific evidence," he said.]

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: A fireworks display over the La Jolla shoreline. Credit: Fox5 / San Diego

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