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Quote of the Day - The human brain is like a railroad freight car -- guaranteed to have a certain capacity but often running empty. - Unknown
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Locomotive Huggers Beware: You'll Lose Your Case Without A Plan

Environmental land use law is full of, well, land mines.  Just when everything seemed clear, along comes another appellate opinion that changes the landscape.  Or not. 

Take, for example, this case decided last week.  The Tuolumne Park and Recreation District sold land containing a "historic but unused railroad right-of-way" to the Me-Wuk Indians.  The Indians said they wanted to develop the land, but had no immediate plans to do so.

Not to be dissuaded, the Friends of the Sierra Railroad sued based on the District's failure to conduct an environmental review of the consequences of the sale.  Now let me pause here for a moment because I've remained silent for about as long as I can stand it.

Historic railroad right-of-way?  Friends of the Sierra Railroad?  Only here in the land of fruits, nuts, berries and twigs would a railroad have friends and be historic all in the same breath.  Heck, we didn't even start to think about building a railroad until 1862, right about the time that Amtrak went into bankruptcy (well, maybe a few hundred years earlier).  And friends of the railroad?  How many locomotive huggers have you met?  But I digress.

The court sniffed this case out in a hurry and dispatched it the same way the trial court did:  since there was no plan to do anything with the land, there was nothing to review.  A change of hands of property doesn't invoke the requirement of an environmental review. 

What's the lesson from this case:  if you want to challenge something, you better have a plan.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 at 20:26 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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