A new set­back for rail back­ers

Los Angeles Times - - CITY & STATE - By Maura Dolan maura.dolan@la­times.com Twitter: @mau­radolan

Sup­port­ers of California’s high-speed rail suf­fered a le­gal set­back Wed­nes­day when a U.S. ap­peals court dis­missed as merely ad­vi­sory a fed­eral board’s de­ci­sion declar­ing the project im­mune from the state’s en­vi­ron­men­tal laws.

Op­po­nents of the bul­let train, which is planned to con­nect San Francisco to South­ern California, had asked the U.S. 9th Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals to over­turn a fed­eral board’s dec­la­ra­tion that fed­eral laws su­per­seded California laws for the rail project.

In­stead, a 9th Cir­cuit panel dis­missed the case, say­ing the de­ci­sion by the U.S. Surface Trans­porta­tion Board was merely ad­vi­sory.

The de­ci­sion com­ple­mented a rul­ing last week by the California Supreme Court, which found that the project was sub­ject to a tough state en­vi­ron­men­tal law.

The Surface Trans­porta­tion Board, which had is­sued the opin­ion that would have pro­tected the project from law­suits, said a de­ci­sion declar­ing the project free from California laws had no force.

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