Greetings … thanks to our skilled and devoted team of attorneys and our partners the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), Californians for Alternatives to Toxins (CATS) and citizen plaintiffs we can head into summer breathing a sigh of relief that the monstrous, environmentally destructive road building machine that is CALTRANS has been temporarily halted in its plan to create Highway 101 into an alternate Interstate 5.
On May 2 Federal Judge James Donato issued a preliminary injunction stopping CALTRANS from doing any further highway-widening work along the wild and scenic Smith River Canyon. The judge cited substantial procedural violations of the Endangered Species Act and the potential for irreparable harm to endangered coho salmon and their critical habitat in the Smith River if the project goes forward. The next Court date is scheduled for November 19, 2014.
Just to remind you how this ties in with Richardson Grove, these two projects are all a part of the CALTRANS plan to widen Highway 101 from Grants Pass in Oregon down to the Bay Area to create an alternative to Interstate 5 so that the large, STAA trucks, trucks whose length exceeds the California legal limit can rumble down through our fragile North Coast environment emitting more greenhouse gases and further intensifying climate change.
On the Richardson Grove front, things are in quiet mode for now but don’t be fooled! CALTRANS has NOT given up. In response the the Federal injunction that previously halted the project, in September 2013 CALTRANS filed a Supplemental Environmental Assessment that was supposed to address all the deficiencies that caused the Judge to issue the injunction. This begins the process anew and we have a July 28 deadline for filing another Federal action all over again! Meanwhile, the State Court case was remanded back to State Court by the California Court of Appeals and we are still awaiting a Court date to be scheduled.
Just a reminder … these lawsuits are incredibly costly so please consider making a generous donation to EPIC and if possible also to the CBD. If you think our portrayal of CALTRANS is a bit biased, please read the impartial report prepared at Governor Jerry Brown’s request and with your tax dollars. I highly recommend the Executive Summary. You can find it at:
Many thanks for your continuing interest. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or concerns. Very truly yours, Barbara Kennedy