Environment & Science

Top environmentalists oppose shakeup at Coastal Commission

In this file photo, visitors are few at Carbon Beach, the so-called
In this file photo, visitors are few at Carbon Beach, the so-called "Billionaires' Beach," on the first day of the opening of a new access route in Malibu, Calif., Tuesday, July 7, 2015. The California Coastal Commission, which opened a third public path to Carbon Beach, has broad sway over issues in the state's coastal region. The commission chair has notified the executive director he could be fired, setting up a battlefront between environmentalists and developers.
Nick Ut/AP

Dozens of environmental and advocacy groups are urging the powerful California Coastal Commission to reject a proposal to oust its top executive.

The commission that manages development along the state's famed coastline has planned a meeting next month to consider whether to fire Executive Director Charles Lester.

In a letter to commission Chair Steve Kinsey released Tuesday, more than 50 groups that include Sierra Club California, the Surfrider Foundation and the California Coastal Protection Network say they are deeply concerned by a "unjustified and misguided" attempt to remove Lester.

Environmental activists suspect some commission members want to push out Lester to make way for management that would be more welcoming to development.

The groups warn that firing Lester would undermine the state's efforts to protect the coast for future generations.