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Environmental Defense Center to Honor Former Coastal Commission Director, Dr. Charles Lester

Santa Barbara — The Environmental Defense Center (EDC) is proud to announce that Dr. Charles Lester, former Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission will be honored as the group’s 2016 Environmental Hero. The award presentation will be a part of EDC’s annual fundraising event, Green & Blue: A Coastal Celebration, from 2:00PM through 5:30PM on June 12th at the Stow House in Goleta.

Charles Lester“For decades, Dr. Lester has been an unsung hero for the California coast, serving the public interest as staff with the California Coastal Commission, with his last four and a half years as Executive Director,” said Linda Krop, EDC’s longtime Chief Counsel.  “Throughout his tenure at the Commission, Dr. Lester was dedicated to ensuring protection of public access for all, preservation of open spaces and strong implementation of the Coastal Act, arguably the most important coastal protection law in the nation.”

In February, EDC staff and volunteers traveled to Morro Bay to speak out in favor of Dr. Lester who was ultimately dismissed from his post in spite of overwhelming support from coastal advocates, Coastal staff and former Commissioners, state legislators and the public. Dr. Lester even drew support from prominent developers and coastal business owners during the more than 12 hour public hearing.

According to Krop, “Despite the results of that devastating, unfathomable process, Dr. Lester’s contributions to public transparency and relentless efforts to protect the coast for all people make him the ideal recipient of EDC’s 2016 Environmental Hero award.” EDC’s annual event, has presented the Environmental Hero award to more than 60 honorees in a variety of categories including local volunteers, public officials, artists, corporations, and public-interest groups.  Each honor has signified EDC’s admiration of the recipient’s extraordinary efforts to protect, preserve, and advocate improvement of environmental quality on a local, national, or international level. The award is meant as a single symbol of appreciation for the many different ways in which the individual or organization has contributed to the long term environmental health of our community and our planet. Former recipients have included Jack Johnson, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Yvon Chouinard, Selma Rubin, Peter Douglas and Jackson Browne.

Green & Blue: A Coastal Celebration honors the Santa Barbara Channel and the coastal lands that help define California’s south central coast that EDC serves. In addition to comments by Dr. Lester, Green & Blue will feature great food by Country Catering, wines from The Ojai Vineyard, beers from Rincon Brewery, a silent and live auction, and a brief program celebrating some of the year’s most important local environmental victories. More information about the event, sponsorship opportunities and tickets can be found at www.EnvironmentalDefenseCenter.org/GB.

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The Environmental Defense Center protects and enhances the local environment through education, advocacy, and legal action and works primarily within Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. Since 1977, EDC has empowered community-based organizations to advance environmental protection. EDC’s focus areas include protection of the Santa Barbara Channel, ensuring clean water, preserving open space and wildlife, and addressing climate and energy. Learn more about EDC at www.EnvironmentalDefenseCenter.org.

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