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Judge rejects U.S. plan for road building in 4 forests

A federal judge today tossed out the federal government’s plans to open vast tracts of forests in Southern California to new road building.

U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel in San Francisco ruled that the U.S. Forest Service failed to adequately consider the effects the new plan would have on the landscape and wildlife in the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino national forests.

The forests are home to several endangered and threatened species. Los Padres, for instance, is the principal home of the endangered California condor. The species’ population has grown to more than 300 since 1982, when all 22 California condors left were rounded up for a captive breeding program.

The Forest Service in 2005 proposed opening about 1 million acres in the four forests to road development and the state of California and environmental groups sued three years later.

The judge said high-ranking Forest Service officials failed to adequately address the effects such road development policies had on national forests.

She also noted that the federal government recommended very little of the land at issue be designated for permanent wilderness designation, which would prohibit any future development.

The judge ordered both sides to submit proposed resolutions over the next 49 days.

—Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (1)

The judge made a significant ruling in favor of preventing further encroachment and decimation of our wild lands. Give developers and profiteers an inch and soon there is a city.

I live across the road from windmills near the city of Tehachapi. We have very few birds, probably because the propellors and noise kill or make the area uninhabitable. Now that they're all running the noise of them, even in the house is audible.

SCE and the wind farms are now in the process of putting fear into local residents of Old West Ranch It is 7 miles west of the 14 fwy off of Tehachapi-Willow Springs road, south of the 58 fwy. They're soliciting residents to get easement or buy their properties to do their wind farm construction. The setback from properties is 1000 feet in Kern County. The people that don't cooperate are faced with 500 foot tall wind turbines with 186 foot blades being installed. Edison also wants to put in transmission lines. It will decimate a wondrous forest with very old Oaks and Pines. The day I toured the area, I saw 2 flocks of turkey vultures, for the first time in the 5 years of being a local.

From personal experience, I contend it is treason against the American people, to continue to allow companies to decimate our life support systems. The new projects are in the Mojave desert. The kicker is that the taxpayers are paying for the roadwork for the energy companies. Major work has been completed on the 14 fwy north of the 58 fwy.

Deserts are NOT lifeless. They are robust. For example, I counted 68 different types of wildflowers on my property. It's a helpless feeling to know there will be more fragmentation and disregard for our precious ecosystems. It is the Garden of Eden, the heart of religion, that is quickly being robbed from us.

Thank you, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, for your ruling. The untouched ecosystems thank you too.


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