From the Washington Examiner: After encountering criticism from environmental groups, Gov. Jerry Brown signaled Wednesday that he plans to withdraw his controversial proposal to protect the California bullet train project from injunctions sought by environmental lawsuits.
Brown’s staff told key environmental groups that he would no longer
include modifications to the California Environmental Quality Act in a
package of legislation this month asking for $6 billion to start
construction of the high-speed rail project....
The Los Angeles Times does not fully report this out, but Brown’s
decision not to bypass CEQA essentially kills California’s high speed
President Obama’s stimulus allocated $8 billion for high-speed rail
projects, including, eventually, up to $3.5 billion for California’s
project. However, according to the stimulus law, California must begin
construction on the project before December 31, 2012 or they will not be
eligible for any more high speed rail stimulus dollars. Obama’s
Transportation Department reaffirmed this time limit last year when they admitted they had “no administrative authority to change this deadline.”
Fast forward to this June when the city of Chowchilla filed suit
to stop construction of the project alleging that the High Speed Rail
Authority failed to conduct a proper Environmental Impact Statement
pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the
National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).
Studies show that the average time to complete the NEPA process is 6.1 years.
And NEPA is designed to be a preventative statute. Federal courts
routinely issue injunctions to stop projects before they ever begin.
That is why oil companies preemptively sued environmental groups
earlier this year over leases in Alaska. They wanted to get the
litigation out of the way so they could begin oil exploration as fast as
Now the city of Chowchilla could cave and voluntary dismiss their
lawsuit. But there are other groups eager to challenge the project in
court too. Farmers have already sued to stop the project
in state court alleging that the Rail Authority’s plan violates the
wording of the state ballot measure that created. If they lose on those
grounds, there is nothing stopping them, or other farmers, from later
pursuing a NEPA or CEQA claim.
Either way, there is simply no way California will be able to break ground on the project before the federal deadline. http://washingtonexaminer.com/california-high-speed-rail-is-dead/article/2500302
Well, it looks like environmental groups are going to save the day for the taxpayers of both California and Nevada/Las Vegas.
If this report is true, then this will also kill the Desert Express, Las Vegas's answer to high speed rail. The Desert Express is supposed to run to Victorville and then onto the Los Angeles area. If California is not going to be able to construct their high speed rail, then the Desert Express is dead. And that is good for the taxpayers.