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UC continues to sue FEMA

As you ay recall, UC sued FEMA some time back, claiming that FEMA's settlement agreement with HCN was unjust and that it should be set aside. UC's key objective in taking this unusual step was to gain access to the US Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion and the associated Take Permit needed to legally kill Alameda Whipsnakes as part of the University's plan to deforest the hill campus.


UC lost this suit several months ago, but was not willing to throw in the towel, instead appealing this loss to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. They lost again.


UC, still not willing to admit defeat, last week filed a petition to have the panel that just ruled unanimously against them to rehear the arguments all over again. It took just a little over a week for this latest attempt to gain access to the Take Permit to fail yet again. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied UC's latest attempt to get what they want.


Hard to know if UC will attempt to have this matter heard by the entire 9th Circuit, but given the responses they have received so far from the Magistrate who originally ruled on this suit, the subsequent appeal, and now the refusal to hear the matter again, it's questionably whether such a move would be successful.


In the course of creating this Petition, UC has made it perfectly clear that any wording in the CEQA EIR that is currently being sued by HCN that implied that this would be a more measured approach than what UC proposed in 2005, is not to be taken seriously. In fact they state unequivocally in this Petition that they intend to do EXACTLY what they proposed in 2005....cut down every single eucalyptus tree.


From the table of contents of the Petition:

  1. The University Is Implementing Overstory Removal In Claremont And Strawberry Canyons, Not Selective Thinning

  2. All Evidence Regarding The Revised Project Confirms The Use Of Overstory Removal In Claremont And Strawberry Canyons

  3. The EIR Scoping Notice Describes Overstory Removal As The Primary Methodology For Claremont And Strawberry Canyon.

  4. FEMA Cites No Evidence Establishing Selective Thinning As The New Methodology For Claremont Or Strawberry Canyons

  5. No Evidence In The Record Asserts Selective Thinning Will Be The Primary Methodology In Claremont Or Strawberry Canyon.

From the body of the document:


Factually, the most recent and detailed description of the current project expressly confirms that the University primarily will conduct overstory removal of the fire-prone eucalyptus and other non-native trees in Claremont and Strawberry Canyons.


So, for anyone who thought that the University's more nuanced (and vague) language in their current EIR meant that they had backed away from their original plans, apparently nothing has changed.


2021.04.12 UC Petition for Rehearing
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