Peter Douglas steps down from Coastal Commission
August 11, 2011
After 26 years as executive director of the California Coastal Commission, Peter Douglas, an outspoken opponent of coastal development who helped write the state’s landmark Coastal Act, announced his retirement Wednesday. [Los Angeles Times]
Douglas, 68, has been fighting lung cancer, and will go on sick leave beginning Monday. He will retire Nov. 1. It’s his second bout with cancer. In 2004, he overcame throat cancer.
Douglas has been the muscle behind the nation’s strongest coastal protection law and agency; he’s spent 41 years making sure the public has access to the state’s 1,100-mile coastline, while keeping developers at bay, preserving view sheds and habitats.
His work has earned him the love of conservationists while raising the ire of developers and property owners who have fought the 12-member commission over beachside projects and public access.
State Senate President Darrell Steinberg said the preservation of California’s magnificent coastline wouldn’t have happened without Douglas, whom he called “the driving force in creating the nation’s most comprehensive coastal protections.”
“Without Peter’s unwavering voice for environmental protection and public access,” Steinberg said in a statement, “millions of Californians and visitors from around the world would have been denied the enjoyment of our pristine coastline.”