Our immediate goal is to convince the California Department of Forestry (CAL FIRE) that the public must be allowed to comment on the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Artesa Winery's plan to clear-cut redwood forest for wine grapes. In the long run, we need to stop the wholesale destruction of California's forestland by industrial vineyard developers.
CAL FIRE is about to approve Artesa Winery's plan to clear-cut 154 acres of redwood forest near Annapolis, CA, to plant wine grapes. Please tell CAL FIRE to suspend certification of Artesa Winery's Final EIR and allow public comment on relevant changes in circumstances and impacts.
Artesa, which is owned by the huge multi-national winery Codorniu of Spain, plans the largest clear-cut of redwood forest to plant grapes in California history; their EIR would be the first one ever approved for this purpose. This proposed "conversion" of forestland to vineyard threatens the continued survival of steelhead in the affected creeks, and also threatens significant Native American cultural heritage sites.
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) allows, but does not require, the lead agency to accept comments from the public on a Final EIR. CAL FIRE has announced that they intend to certify (approve) the Final EIR for Artesa's project WITHOUT allowing the public to comment. We are asking them to slow down and accept input from the public.
We are not opposed to wine, and we are not opposed to vineyards. We are opposed to the destruction of redwood forests to plant grapes. The long-term health of our State depends on forested watersheds to supply clean water, fresh air, habitat for thousands of species of wild animals and plants and recreational opportunities for people. There is plenty of agricultural land on which to plant grapes.
Public comment is needed now more than ever because of Sonoma County's brand-new moratorium on vineyard conversions and the urgent reasons for it -- all of which are completely censored in the public record for Artesa! Your signature on this petition to open the public record will make CAL FIRE confront the inconvenient truth of the moratorium.
Even if you have already signed on to the previous petition generally opposing this project at an earlier stage of the permit process, please take a few moments to sign on to this critical, time-sensitive action. It is literally the last chance to affect the final outcome of the permit process, which is on a fast track to final approval.
For more information visit GualalaRiver.org