Judge Denies Injunction for California High-Speed Rail Project

A judge has denied a request from farmers in the Central Valley of California to halt work on an ambitious California High-Speed Rail Project .

Judge Timothy Frawley of Sacramento County Superior Court denied a request for a preliminary injunction on Friday, saying the agency overseeing the $68 billion project had “acted reasonably and in good faith” in trying to comply with California’s environmental laws.

Groups representing Central Valley farmers said the California High-Speed Rail Authority had not thoroughly weighed the potential harms of the project and sought a halt to all planning.

Judge Frawley did not rule on the merits of their case, which is expected to be heard this spring. But he said he was convinced that the state had generally sought to comply with the rigorous environmental laws.

The initial section of the rail line will be a 65-mile segment from Merced to Fresno, in the heart of the state’s agricultural belt.

In his ruling, Judge Frawley acknowledged that California laws require an understanding of a project’s harm to the environment. But he said he did not feel that there was sufficient reason to grant a preliminary injunction since actual construction is not scheduled to begin until July.

The rail authority argued that the potential harm to the state in halting the project was far greater than it would be to the Central Valley farmers; the state could lose up to $3.2 billion in federal financing if the train does not meet deadlines and could incur $8 million to $10 million in higher costs.

Source : nytimes.com

 

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