A federal judge in San Francisco has stopped activity on a project to widen a California highway that runs through a stand of old-growth redwood trees in a state park. Bair v. Cal. State DOT, No. 10-4360 (N.D. Cal. 7/6/11). Plaintiffs challenged the state’s attempt to expand a narrow, one-mile stretch of Highway 101 to accommodate large, long-haul trucks. The complaint alleged that the state DOT failed to adequately review the environmental impacts of the project, as required by NEPA. It also alleged violations of the federal Department of Transportation Act of 1966, Wild and Science Rivers Act and Administrative Procedure Act.
Agreeing that plaintiffs raised serious NEPA questions on the merits, the court granted their motion for preliminary injunction and ruled that “[a]ll construction, awards for construction, and formal solicitation or advertising for contracts for construction are now enjoined pending final decision herein. However, scoping of possible future contracts and exploration of possible ways to develop the plan and to mitigate damage may all go forward.”