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July 31, 2017

BLUE ON BLUE: California’s bullet train is likely to face more environmental hurdles after a high court ruling.

In a 6-1 ruling last week written by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the California Supreme Court decided that federal rail law does not usurp California’s tough environmental regulation for state-owned rail projects.

The decision has broad significance, lawyers in the case said.

It clears the way for opponents of the $64-billion bullet train to file more lawsuits as construction proceeds and also allows Californians to challenge other rail uses, such as the movement of crude oil from fracking.

A federal court could later decide the matter differently, ruling that U.S. law trumps state regulation.

But lawyers in the field said they expect a similar case pending in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to be dismissed and expressed doubt that the U.S. Supreme Court would review last week’s ruling.

And: “More lawsuits are expected when the rail authority finalizes plans for construction in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California.”

The state is so swamped by progressive regulations that even progressive dream projects are choking on them.