U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria said Friday state transportation officials gave a federal wildlife agency incorrect information when seeking the agency’s approval for the work.
The California Department of Transportation proposed preserving 5 acres to offset damage the highway expansion would cause to the habitat of two endangered species _ the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake.
But Chhabria said that land was already slated for preservation and was therefore not a benefit that could be tied directly to the highway expansion. He ordered Caltrans to again seek the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s approval.
A Caltrans spokesperson said the agency is continuing to review the court’s ruling, and will be working with its project partners to discuss options, and determine their next steps.
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