Preemption

CEQA Preemption Appeal Fully Briefed

The appeal of the CEQA Preemption Order by the federal Surface Transportation Board for California HSR is now fully briefed. Oral argument has not yet been scheduled. The briefs are all posted on the STB page.

Opening Brief Filed in STB Appeal

TRANSDEF and its allies Kings County, Kings County Farm Bureau, California Citizens for High-Speed Rail Accountability, Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail, California Rail Foundation, and Dignity Health today filed the Opening Brief in their appeal of the federal Surface Transportation Board’s Declaratory Order. That decision eliminated the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s need to comply with CEQA, due to the STB’s assertion of federal preemption of all federal, state, and local regulations pertaining to interstate railroads. See the Briefs.

TRANSDEF Files STB Challenge

In the second of two lawsuits filed today, TRANSDEF joined a coalition of non-profits and Central Valley county governments to challenge the decision of the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) preempting the application of CEQA to California’s HSR project. In what we consider to be a shocking use of state power, the California Attorney General has previously sought to eliminate the application of CEQA to the state’s HSR project.

On October 9, 2014 the CHSRA
petitioned the STB to block California courts from issuing injunctions that could stop construction of the HSR project. In an ugly turn of events, the STB issued a ruling on December 12, 2014 that blocked not only injunctions but all application of CEQA to the HSR project. Read More...

CHSRA Declares Independence from CEQA

In a move that screams desperation, the California High-Speed Rail Authority filed a petition with the federal Surface Transportation Board for a declaratory order that would prevent any California court from issuing an injunction to stop the construction of the Fresno-Bakersfield portion of the project. CHSRA wants to hide behind federal preemption. See this page.

By running to the feds for protection, CHSRA has told the world it cannot and will not play by California rules.

In an earlier move seeking to protect its claim to federal preemption of environmental laws, CHSRA asked the Supreme Court to depublish the appellate decision in
Town of Atherton II. See bottom of this page.

CHSRA Tries to Ditch CEQA

After losing part of an appellate decision, the California High-Speed Rail Authority filed a request with the California Supreme Court today, asking it to depublish the 7/31/14 ruling. That would mean no other court could consider the ruling to be precedent, thereby making it easier to argue that CEQA doesn’t apply to railroad projects that are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Surface Transportation Board. All the papers are posted at the bottom of this page.

Court of Appeal Hits HSR Critics Hard

The Third District Court of Appeal issued rulings in the Atherton II appeal and the Authority’s Extraordinary Writ petition recently. Both of them were very hard on HSR critics. See the posts at the bottom of the pages for links to the rulings and brief explanations.

COURT OF APPEAL ALLOWS HIGH-SPEED RAIL TO VIOLATE BOND MEASURE

The Third District Court of Appeal late yesterday overturned two trial rulings that had hamstrung California’s still-embattled High-Speed Rail project. The Court ruled that "The Legislature appropriated the bond proceeds based on the preliminary funding plan, however deficient, and there is no present duty to redo the plan."

Plaintiff's lead counsel, Michael Brady, was disappointed with the ruling. He said "The voters approved Proposition 1A only because it included stringent requirements to protect the state from financial risk. The Court ruled that although the project did not meet the requirements, taxpayers have no remedy now. They can only sue after many more tens of millions of dollars are spent on design and analysis.”

Stuart Flashman, co-counsel added, "The court has essentially allowed the Authority to ignore promises it, and the legislature, made to California’s voters. It bodes ill for voters’ willingness to trust such promises in the future. Supreme Court review appears warranted.”
Read More...