Enviros defeat Bohemian Grove logging plan
In a March 4 hearing in Santa Rosa Superior Court, Judge Rene Chouteau ruled that the Bohemian Club and CAL FIRE (formerly California Department of Forestry) violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by failing to consider a single feasible alternative in approving the Bohemian Club’s 100-year logging plan. The lawsuit was brought by the Sierra Club and the Bohemian Redwood Rescue Club.
The Bohemian Grove contains magnificent redwoods and Douglas firs—some more than 1000 years old. “This decision requires CAL FIRE to consider less damaging alternatives, including reduced rates of harvest,” said John Hooper, a forest activist and former Bohemian Club member.
In 2001, while a member of the Bohemian Club, Hooper hiked the outlying acres of the Bohemian Grove. He came upon large old-growth redwoods and Douglas fir that had been tagged for harvest. Hooper became worried when he learned that the Bohemian Club had applied for a permit to harvest 1.13 to 1.8 million board feet per year, citing the need for fire prevention.
As a result of criticisms, the Bohemian Club withdrew and eventually downsized its harvest plan; however, their final application still offered no “feasible alternatives” as CEQA requires. CAL FIRE approved the plan anyway, just two days before stronger regulations protecting Russian River salmon and steelhead took effect. Sierra Club and the Bohemian Redwood Rescue Club filed suit in January 2010.
“From start to finish, this was clearly a logging project, not a project to reduce fire hazard,” said Philip Rundel, Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA.
The Bohemian Club was founded in San Francisco in 1872. Members pay $25,000 or more to join the exclusive male-only club. Members include Arnold Schwarzenegger, George H.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the Koch brothers, and Clint Eastwood.
“Now that the court has rejected the Bohemian Club’s timber management plan permit, we will be working closely with CAL FIRE and the Bohemian Club to come up with a new plan,” said Jay Holcomb, Chair of the Sierra Club’s Redwood Chapter.
Reprinted with permission from Redwood Needles, newsletter of the Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club.