California High-Speed Rail Project
The California High-Speed Rail Project is a planned high-speed train system for intercity travel in California between the major metropolitan centers of Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area in the north, through the Central Valley, to Los Angeles and San Diego in the south. The California High-Speed Rail Authority retained RMM as outside counsel to represent the Authority alongside the California Attorney General’s Office to defend against CEQA litigation challenging the California High-Speed Rail Project in 2012. After preparing programmatic EIRs covering the statewide project as a whole and the San Francisco Bay Area, the Authority began preparing project EIRs for the individual rail segments. The first of these project EIRs to be certified was for the Merced-to-Fresno segment in 2012. Sabrina Teller assisted the state in successfully defending against a motion for preliminary injunction that would have precluded further planning, design, and construction of the first project segment while the case was pending. The case settled on the eve of trial in 2013, and construction of the first planned operating segment is well underway in and around Fresno. The Authority certified an EIR for the next project segment from Fresno to Bakersfield in 2014. Several lawsuits challenging that EIR were related in Sacramento County Superior Court, but the litigation was abated until early 2018 while the California Supreme Court considered relevant legal issues in Friends of Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority (2017) 3 Cal.5th 677. Jim Moose, Sabrina Teller, Brian Plant, Laura Harris, Elizabeth Pollock, and Christopher Stiles continue to advise the Authority with respect to CEQA compliance for subsequent project segments as well as environmental permitting issues.