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Vignette StoryServer 5.0 Sun Mar 27 06:29:31 2005

March 27, 2005

Clint to fell 17,000 trees
John Harlow in Los Angeles

THE actor and director Clint Eastwood has angered environmentalists with plans to expand a golf course that he part-owns and chop down thousands of trees in the process.

Eastwood — who as a state parks commissioner has long been associated with environmental causes — spent £500,000 putting the proposed expansion of Pebble Beach Golf Links, on California’s Monterey peninsula, through a local referendum rather than negotiating with planners.

He won more than two-thirds of the vote, leaving politicians with little option but to rubber-stamp the proposals, which include a hotel and almost 50 luxury homes.

The 74-year-old star and director of Million Dollar Baby now faces one final bureaucratic obstacle, the state’s coastal commission, where he also has fans.

Environmentalists and local residents have mounted a furious campaign against Eastwood, who sang I Talk to the Trees in the 1969 film Paint Your Wagon and is now proposing to cut down 17,000 of them.

Last week the protesters briefly ran a website mocking his carefully nurtured green credentials.

“He wants to destroy the world’s largest natural grove of Monterey pines, our local pride and emblem,” said Mark Massara, a spokesman for the Sierra Club lobby group.

Alan Williams, project manager for the developers, said it was Eastwood’s idea to buy 1,000 trees in a nearby package of land to balance out the losses.

Copyright 2005 Times Newspapers Ltd.