On January 24th, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors removed support for the Richardson Grove Project from its “Legislative Agenda,” an annual goal-setting document used to set the county’s lobbying agenda in Washington D.C. and Sacramento. This vote marked the first time that the project lacked local support. EPIC and our allies have worked for several years to remove support for the project from the Legislative Agenda.
Two days later, on January 26th, Caltrans released its response to comments on the 2017 “Addendum” to the original 2010 Environmental Impact Report. EPIC had submitted new science from 2020 and 2021 which found that past road construction through Humboldt Redwood State Park had significantly impacted adjacent old-growth redwoods. Based on this new science, EPIC believes that both the severity of impacts and the scope of impacts, meaning the distance from the road prism, would be greater than predicted by the agency. Predictably, Caltrans denied that its project would harm adjacent old-growth redwoods and rejected new science.
Soon after, Caltrans approved the project again and petitioned the Humboldt County Superior Court to lift its 2019 injunction against the project. EPIC’s wonderful attorneys, Stu Gross and Ross Middlemiss, were quick to respond and opposed the lifting of that injunction and filed a new state court lawsuit. The new lawsuit looks similar to many of our past lawsuits—Caltrans has failed to consider the true environmental impacts of its project on old-growth redwoods—because Caltrans has never meaningfully updated its analysis. It continues to plow forward, asserting that cutting the root system of old-growth redwoods will not impact adjacent trees. As if.
We are now waiting on the court. EPIC will alert our friends of the first court hearing, and we will pack the house to show that people still care about saving Richardson Grove.