To: Nicholas Dirks, Chancellor, UC Berkeley
Stop UC's plan to deforest the Oakland/Berkeley hills
To: Nicholas Dirks, Chancellor, UC Berkeley:
In the ongoing debate about the University's plans for vegetation management in the hill campus UC, one of the world's great educational institutions is attempting to circumvent California law in order to expedite its plans to mow down virtually all the tall trees above the campus. While the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires that major environmental projects such as this be thoroughly reviewed and vetted by the public, the University is attempting to avoid the legal requirement to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and instead move forward on these projects with a simple addendum to the 2020 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP). This LRDP has virtually no analysis of what is being proposed and for the University to attempt this shortcut is simply shameful.
We ask that the University rescind this effort and instead do what the other project proponents have done--prepare an EIR.
Why is this important?
UC's plan to cut down and poison 100,000 trees in the hills above the Berkeley campus will be an unmitigated environmental disaster. For both those of us who live in these hills as well as the many people of all ages who come from all over to walk, hike and bike on these beautiful shady trails, the idea that the forests that we all enjoy should be mowed down is totally unacceptable. Make no mistake about it; if this is allowed to happen UC would not only destroy animal habitat, but make a shady and cool area hot and dry, destabilize hillsides, cause the application of thousands of gallons of toxic herbicides on steep hillsides with myriad creeks, release tons of carbon dioxide, and increase the risk of the sorts of wildfires that have increasingly plagued California every summer. In short, this project would be an environmental disaster.