California’s high-speed train project is likely to continue to be buffeted by environmental challenges as a result of a decision by the state’s top court.
In a 6-1 ruling last week written by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the California Supreme Court decided that federal rail law does not usurp California’s tough environmental regulation for state-owned rail projects.
The decision has broad significance, lawyers in the case said.
It clears the way for opponents of the $64-billion bullet train to file more lawsuits as construction proceeds and also allows Californians to challenge other rail uses, such as the movement of crude oil from fracking.
So far there have been about a half a dozen lawsuits challenging environment impact reports for two rail segments in the Central Valley. Three of the suits are still pending.
More lawsuits are expected when the rail authority finalizes plans for construction in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California.
Legal experts expect an even bigger firestorm of lawsuits when environmental impact reports are released for the Silicon Valley and parts of Los Angeles, possibly next year. The reports will reveal where the lines will be built.
Source: LA Times