Four years after Caltrans began planning to widen Highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park, EPIC and our allies secured a Preliminary Injunction in Federal Court, temporarily halting the project. On April 4, 2012, the Northern District of the US Federal Court ordered Caltrans to create new maps that accurately describe the project area and to reassess their conclusion that the project would result in no significant impact to the ancient redwoods in the park. Hearings on the state court challenge to the Caltrans project in Richardson Grove were held on March 29, 2012, and a decision on that case was made at the end of June 2012. The state decision was favorable to Caltrans, but it did nothing to change the results of the previous federal court decision that forced Caltrans back to the drawing board on the project.
Plaintiffs continue to consider all their options in the legal defense of the ancient redwoods against the unnecessary highway development proposed by Caltrans, and in December 2012 EPIC filed a formal appeal of the Humboldt County Superior Court decision that favored Caltrans. In April of 2012 a federal judge ruled that Caltrans was had been “arbitrary and capricious” in their use of “faulty data,” and ordered them to reassess the environmental impacts or to conduct a full Environmental Impact Report. On September 21, 2013, Caltrans released a Supplement to the May 2010 Final Environmental Assessment for the Richardson Grove Operational Improvement Project for a thirty day public comment period that ends on October 21, 2013. Upon review of the Supplement, it is clear that Caltrans has provided an inadequate document that does not fully address all of the impacts of the project.
In addition to a legal strategy in both state and federal court to protect the famed old growth redwoods at Richardson Grove, a broad coalition of community activists has organized a public campaign to underscore the growing movement forming to protect this stand of ancient trees. The Rein in Caltrans campaign at EPIC has grown to include challenges to the massive Caltrans Willits By Pass project in Mendocino County, as well as opposition to the Caltrans Highway 197/199 widening project on the Smith River in Del Norte County.
Here are some of the important documents and milestones relating to Richardson Grove:
A Little Background
Richardson Grove State Park marks the southern entrance to Humboldt County, and is considered to be the famous redwood curtain that has kept the county from becoming another exit along the superhighway of modern development. In 1922, concerns about “potential destruction of the trees by highway construction and logging” persuaded the State to protect the redwood grove in the State Park system. But now Caltrans is proposing to widen the highway through the Grove, resulting in removal of trees and destruction of old growth root systems. Read more on the project specifics here.
Donate to EPIC’s “Save Richardson Grove Legal Fund” EPIC needs support to keep the Richardson Grove legal defense going. We are up against large scale developers, and this has been a very expensive process. Every donation helps! Contact EPIC directly at 707-822-7711 if you have interest in making a significant donation. Thank You!
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