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California’s bullet train is likely to face more environmental hurdles after a high court ruling

August 1, 2017

Los Angeles Times,

Maura Dolan and Ralph Vartabedian,

July 31, 2017-

California’s high-speed train project is likely to continue to be buffeted by environmental challenges as a result of a decision by the state’s top court. In a 6-1 ruling last week written by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the California Supreme Court decided that federal rail law does not usurp California’s tough environmental regulation for state-owned rail projects. The decision has broad significance, lawyers in the case said.

It clears the way for opponents of the $64-billion bullet train to file more lawsuits as construction proceeds and also allows Californians to challenge other rail uses, such as the movement of crude oil from fracking. A federal court could later decide the matter differently, ruling that U.S. law trumps state regulation. But lawyers in the field said they expect a similar case pending in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to be dismissed and expressed doubt that the U.S. Supreme Court would review last week’s ruling. The high-speed rail line is supposed to run between San Francisco and Anaheim.

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