Appeals Court Reverses State Court Giving Green Light to Richardson Grove Highway Project


See our report from the Courtroom in our Jan. 21 update here.
The following is excerpted from the Center for Biological Diversity’s press release:


The California Court of Appeal today ordered Caltrans to reevaluate the environmental impacts of a controversial highway-widening project in Humboldt County that would harm irreplaceable old-growth redwood trees in Richardson Grove State Park. The appeals court unanimously found that Caltrans failed to follow the law in assessing impacts on ancient redwoods and providing mitigation measures to reduce potentially severe harm to the trees. Caltrans’ project — intended to allow bigger trucks to travel Highway 101 through the park — would require excavation, fill and paving within the fragile root zones of Richardson Grove’s ancient trees.
“This is a victory for Richardson Grove’s ancient trees and for the generations of travelers, hikers and campers who’ve enjoyed their magnificence,” said Center for Biological Diversity attorney Kevin Bundy. “Caltrans owes the public a full and honest account of how its highway-widening plans could damage this irreplaceable state park.”

EPIC; the Center for Biological Diversity; Californians for Alternatives to Toxics; and [several] local residents …challenged an environmental impact report approved for the project by Caltrans in 2010. The Humboldt County Superior Court ruled in 2012 that Caltrans’ report complied with the California Environmental Quality Act. Today’s ruling overturns that decision.

A separate lawsuit filed in federal court resulted in a 2012 ruling that Caltrans must redo critical aspects of its environmental analysis under federal law. The court cited numerous errors in mapping and measurement of affected old-growth redwoods and found that Caltrans had been “arbitrary and capricious” in its use of what the court itself called “faulty data.”

This is an important victory in the campaign to protect the ancient redwoods and other species of Richardson Grove State Park from Caltrans’ unnecessary highway project. There is still much more to do! Stay tuned, subscribe to our updates and check our website www.HeadwatersPreserve.org and also Save Richardson Grove.
Thanks for your support!


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