When last heard from, California Governor Jerry Brown announced that he wanted to “protect the [high speed rail] project from injunctions sought by environmental lawsuits,” so he wanted to modify the environmental review process, as part of his legislation which, among other things, would appropriate some $6 billion to start construction. Predictably, environmentalists have put up a fight; they wa nt a full-bore environmental review, down to such things as diesel engine emissions from the equipment used in the construction. And so we learn from today’s Los Angeles Times, that the governor has backed down, although word to that effect has come not from himself, but from his staffers. See Ralph Vartabedian and Chris Megerian, Bullet Train Exception to Be Scrapped, L.A. Times, June 21, 2012, at p. AA1.
No word as to what will be the expected delay in construction. Stay tuned.