California’s iconic coastline is under serious threat. We need your help to maintain strong leadership of the Coastal Commission.
You can’t drive down PCH without seeing the fruits of the California Coastal Commission’s labor – beaches for the public to enjoy, coastal parks and recreation areas, communities that have balanced development with affordable access to beaches. But now, the leadership of the Commission – the agency committed to protecting and enhancing our coast through planning and regulation – is in jeopardy. A few members of the 12-person Coastal Commission are pursuing the removal of its Executive Director, Dr. Charles Lester.
It’s a tough job. With pressure from developers to build in some of the hottest real estate in the nation, coupled with persistent environmental advocacy to protect and preserve the last natural stretches of California’s coast, Dr. Lester has done a good job moving sound policy and bringing parties on both sides together to see if there is room for compromise. It is unclear what he had done to merit termination. Some of his major accomplishments over the last few years include:
- Certification of a Local Coastal Program for the Santa Monica Mountains after it had been stalled for nearly a decade. This policy provides strong habitat protection to some of the L.A. region’s last natural watersheds and coastal mountains, while affording the public access to this recreation hotspot. Dr. Lester has also promoted collaboration between local government and Commission staff, leading to updated local coastal plans for 24 cities and counties across California.
- Improvement of Sea World’s permit to build larger tanks at their San Diego facility, by also requiring a phase out of their captive orca breeding program.
- Protection of public access along our 840 mile coastline, including Paradise Cove agreeing to stop charging a $20 walk-in fee and remove all signs banning visitors from surfing at this iconic Malibu beach after pressure from the Coastal Commission.
- Adoption of the first ever sea level rise policy for California, which provides guidance to local governments and the Coastal Commission for how to prepare for climate change impacts along our coast, while protecting sensitive habitats and ensuring access to our beloved beaches and coastal trails.
As an ocean-lover, this work matters to you. You can help fight special interests and protect our precious coast by clicking below to sign our petition.