Judge Sides with Tree Huggers Over Highway-Widening Project
|There are some trees you don't want to mess with|
The Environmental Protection Information Center, Center for Biological Diversity, and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics claim Caltrans used inaccurate maps and tree dimensions in order to dodge putting together a costly and time-consuming environmental impact statement. Instead, environmentalists -- and the judge -- say Caltrans only did a mild assessment, concluding the project would create a "no significant" impact to the trees.
"Here, there are a number of discrepancies and omissions that raise serious questions about whether Caltrans truly took a 'hard look' at the effects of the project and made an informed decision," Alsup wrote.
Caltrans has now been ordered to organize accurate maps that identify, number, and calculate the root zones and establish environmental issues for each tree. If the revised assessments find that impacts are in fact significant, Caltrans will have to commission a full environmental impact report, the judge ruled.