Sep 2013

Hoisted on their own petard

After shocking the state by asserting that the California Environmental Quality Act, CEQA, did not apply to the High-Speed Rail project, the California High-Speed Rail Authority is about to taste comeuppance. The Tos plaintiffs, who challenged the HSR project’s compliance with the HSR bond measure’s taxpayer protection provisions, have struck back. They filed papers to join in a motion seeking to halt the state’s validation proceedings. The rationale is priceless: Because the expectation of CEQA compliance is written into the HSR bond measure, plaintiffs claim that the project cannot use bond funds if CEQA compliance is abandoned. Since the preemption issue will be determined in the appeal process, plaintiffs asked that the validation suit be put on hold until the applicability of CEQA is determined by the Court of Appeal.

The bottom line result of all this may be that the CHSRA badly miscalculated in trying to get around an ongoing CEQA appeal, and threw away the entire project. With three interrelated cases simultaneously before the bar, HSR’s legal status is complicated. Please
contact us if you feel further explanation is needed.

Multiple Suits Challenge Plan Bay Area

Multiple lawsuits were filed, challenging the FEIR for the Bay Area’s regional plan under CEQA. Interestingly, they attack the plan from different directions:

The Sierra Club/Communities for a Better Environment suit seeks a reduction in greenhouse gases and air pollution that affects communities of color in West Oakland. The “Bay Area Citizens” suit is a right-wing challenge to what it views as an assault on Americans’ God-given right to live in suburbs. The Building Industry Association suit makes interesting claims that have never been litigated: that the regional plan violates SB 375 by not providing for feasible levels of housing for the entire population of the Bay Area, including in-commuters from the Central Valley.

For the associated documents, see the bottom of
this page.