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Kings County files suit to stop high-speed rail

Kings County has filed a lawsuit to stop the approved high-speed rail project which is scheduled to go through California's Central Valley after construction on that phase of the project is completed. The rationale for the filing is violations of the Environmental Quality Act of California, according to ABC News on Thursday. Kings County officials also attribute their lawsuit to violations of other state laws in connection with the high-speed rail project.

Some of these claims which were filed in the Sacramento County Superior Court by the Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability, as well as the Kings County Farm Bureau, allege that the high-speed rail project "abused its discretion and violated the law" when approving a rather large review of a 114-mile portion of the project from Fresno to Bakersfield.

Those opposed to the high-speed rail project point to the thousands of acres of agricultural land, wildlife habitats, residential areas, businesses and commercial, industrial facilities that will be adversely affected by the project. Opponents also made reference to the roads, oil wells and water wells that will be adversely affected by the project. According to opponents, irrigation and water drainage systems as they currently exist also are threatened by the project.

Although the rail authority has not yet been served with the lawsuit, its spokesperson, Lisa Marie Alley, stated in an email that the lawsuit:

"is not about protecting the environment but about Kings County trying every means possible to stop high-speed rail."

Alley defended the high-speed rail study, stating that it is:

"one of the most comprehensive environmental analyses ever prepared in California."

Thus far Kings County officials and private citizens have been successful in their objection to the $8.6 billion project, to the point of actually impeding construction of the project indefinitely.

Time will tell how this lawsuit, as well as the high-speed rail project itself, resonate with the courts as well as the citizens of California. The outcomes of either the former of the latter will affect the future of high-speed rail for many years to come.

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