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California High-Speed Rail Faces New Legal Challenges

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Artist's conception of a California high-speed rail train. (California High-Speed Rail Authority)

Artist’s conception of a California high-speed rail train. (California High-Speed Rail Authority)

MarkSeelig20100908_KCBS_0152r Mark Seelig
Mark Seelig was born and raised in the Bay Area...having grown up...
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SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – A pair of lawsuits have been filed by farmers in the Central Valley, as they contend that the current path of California’s high-speed rail project would severely affect their livelihoods.

The two suits were filed in Sacramento County Superior Court on Friday, one by the Merced County Farm Bureau and the other by the Madera County Farm Bureau.

KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

Anja Raudabaugh, Executive Director of the Madera County Farm Bureau, said by their calculations, the bullet train’s path would render 1,500 acres of prime farmland useless.

“For our county, agriculture is our business. So it’s as if you were going to come in and take HP or Intel out of some of the high tech counties,” she said.

Raudabaugh also called the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Environmental Impact Report less than stellar.

Dan Richards, Chairman of the High-Speed Rail Authority, disagrees.

“Our view is that our environmental documents were sufficient and were done with thoroughness,” he said.

Despite that, Richards said he does understand the arguments by the farm bureaus.

“That’s just part of the process. We live in a very complicated state and people have lots of different opinions,” he said.

Richards said they plan to vigorously defend themselves in the suit and hope in the end, they can move along with a project that everyone can get behind.

Raudabaugh said they are not trying to be obstructionists, only doing what’s necessary to protect the interests of farmers.

Barring any type of settlement, the case is scheduled for a hearing within 30 days.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)

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