California High-Speed Rail Settles Environmental Lawsuit

By William Vogeler, Esq. on October 31, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Nothing is ever really settled. It just seems that way.

The Earth used to be the center of the universe, but Copernicus changed all that. That's how the law works, too.

One day a matter is settled; the next day it starts all over again. When it comes to California's high-speed rail, one settlement agreement may not settle anything.

Environmental Quality

Shafter, a small Central Valley city, settled its suit against the state's rail authority. The city claimed the proposed high-speed rail, which would go from Los Angeles to San Francisco, violated the state California Environmental Quality Act.

The city said the agency "didn't do enough to mitigate environmental or other effects" from the proposed route through the city. The state has agreed to pay up to $200,000 to reimburse the city for staff time.

According to reports, the settlement ends one of seven similar cases that have been filed against the proposed railway. One more is pending.

However, everything could change tomorrow for the state's high-speed plans. It comes down to election day.

The Next Governor

California's next governor may kill the project. It took Democrat Jerry Brown two terms to push it this far, but his successor is not exactly on board -- no matter who wins the election.

Republican John Cox has already promised to scrap the project, and Democrat Gavin Newsom is not entirely committed to it. Newsom reportedly said "just building from San Francisco to Fresno and on to Bakersfield may be all that's realistic."

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