Conservation, Eco-friendly, Environmental Hazards, Environmentalist, Nature, Wildlife & Animal Rights

Newhall Ranch Project Moving Forward after Court Decision

Santa Clara river
The decision allows Newhall Land & Farming Co. to alter the Santa Clara river.
Image: Wendell / intherough / Flickr

A state appellate court once again gave the project to develop 20,000 homes on the Newhall Ranch the green light this week. The decision came from the 2nd District Court of Appeals on March 21st. The decision also allowed California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife to restore a permit to Newhall Land and Farming Co. that allows the company to alter the Santa Clara river and “save an endangered wildflower on land set aside within the 12,000-acre project,” according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

On Thursday, the three-judge panel reversed a LA County Superior Court decision in October 2012 that set aside a 5,828-page environmental impact report. This decision clears the way for initial wetlands restoration and other environmental mitigation connected with the project.

“The appellate decision fully vindicates the decade-long effort to secure all of the state environmental permits necessary for Newhall Ranch,” said Marlee Lauffer, spokeswoman for Newhall Land, in a statement. “We had great confidence in the diligence the Department of Fish and Wildlife undertook to certify the EIR and the Court’s action affirms that process.”

The largest proposed development in L.A. County history has been planned for 20 years, but has had several lawsuits tying it up for more than a decade. Supporters of the Newhall Ranch state that it would provide tens of thousands of needed homes and jobs in the area, and the ruling found that the environmental impact has been adequately assessed. Critics of the plan, however, say that it would ruin historic orange grove country, therefore destroying the Santa Clara River while adding tens of thousands of cars to the area. One of the plan’s opponents, the Wishtoyo Foundation, says it plans to appeal the decision to the California Supreme Court.

What do you think of this latest development in the Newhall Ranch saga?

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