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Sierra Club v. California Dep't of Forestry & Fire Protection

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20095
Nos. No. A113774, (Cal. App. 1st Dist., 03/29/2007)

A California appellate court reversed a lower court decision denying environmental groups' petition challenging a state agency's decision to allow timberland to be converted to a vineyard under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The agency issued a timber conversion permit to the owners of the timberland after adopting a mitigated negative declaration for the project. However, there is substantial evidence to support a fair argument that the conversion project may have a significant effect on the environment, thereby requiring the preparation of an environmental impact report (EIR) under th CEQA. Thus, an EIR must be prepared, and the lower court erred in rejecting the groups' petition.