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Gallegos v. State Bd. of Forestry

Citation: 8 ELR 20253
No. No. 1-Civ. 41791, 76 Cal. App. 3d 945/142 Cal. Rptr. 86, (Cal. Ct. App., 01/23/1978)

The court reverses the judgment of the trial court sustaining the Board of Forestry's granting of a timber harvesting permit to a private lumber company. At the outset, the court rejects plaintiffs' contentions that the Board inadequately explained the basis for its action and that the trial court erred in upholding the Board's determination under the substantial evidence test. Plaintiffs are correct, however, in asserting that the Board's action was taken in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Normally, CEQA would require the preparation of an environmental impact report (EIR) for a state action such as this, but the Board's permit granting procedure has been properly exempted from that requirement by the Secretary of the Resources Agency pursuant to § 21080.5 of the Public Resources Code. This exemption may be granted, however, only in cases where the exempted agency conducts an environmental review and prepares a statement which are the functional equivalent of an EIR, including the furnishing of written responses to significant environmental objections and questions submitted to the Agency. The brief statement accompanying the Board's granting of the permit in this case did not provide answers to the large number of substantial environmental objections raised by plaintiffs during the administrative process, is therefore invalid under CEQA, and is remanded to the Board for reconsideration.

Counsel for Appellants
Bonnie Dalton
210 Southwest Blvd., Rohnert Park, CA 94928
(707) 795-3669

Elliot Lee Daum
615 North St., Santa Rosa CA 95404
(707) 545-2470

Counsel for Appellees
Joel S. Moskowitz, Deputy Attorney General; Evelle J. Younger, Attorney General
555 Capitol Mall, Sacramento CA 95814
(916) 445-2256

Counsel for Real Party in Interest and Respondent Chenoweth Lumber Company
William B. Dillon
2400 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa CA 95405
(707) 546-3663

Robert C. Petersen
P.O. Box 1168, Fort Bragg CA 95437
(707) 964-4044

Counsel for Amicus Curiae
Ronald A. Zumbrun, Raymond M. Momboisse, Robin I. Rivett
Pacific Legal Foundation
455 Capitol Mall, Suite 465, Sacramento CA 95814
(916) 444-0144

Joined by Caldecott & Rattigan, JJ.