U.S. v. Kern County: Trump administration’s decision to block wind farm project violates law

U.S. v. Kern County: Trump administration's decision to block wind farm project violates law

Bumblebees can be classified as ‘fish’ under California conservation law, court says

The Associated Press


May 8, 2019 at 6:34 PMMay 8, 2019 at 6:35 PM

LOS ANGELES — A federal judge Monday ordered the Trump administration to pay over $14,500 in penalties to the state of California under a California conservation law meant to limit the harm that invasive fish and birds can cause.

Judge William I. Miller found the Trump administration’s decision not to stop a controversial dam that’s planned in San Bernardino Canyon in Riverside County was arbitrary and violated the law.

But Miller also said he was troubled by the Trump administration’s decision to let a state-funded group sue and take government land to build an experimental wind farm and wind farm substation that would power the area.

“It is not, at this time, apparent in what way the Bureau of Land Management has violated any federal agency guidance or laws and regulations,” Miller wrote. “But it is troubling to notice that the B.L.M. has now chosen to assert some type of authority that goes against the explicit direction of the FWS and the F.L.A.”

He ordered the B.L.M. to pay penalties to the state, but he said a settlement is pending.

The case is U.S. v. Kern County. It is scheduled to be argued in front of U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg May 2.

A group of federal and state agencies has opposed the project, saying it would damage the environment and cause health and safety problems.

The proposed project would use some of the land that would be part of a national monument created during President Theodore Roosevelt’s tenure. But the group that opposed it argued that Trump’s January order to shrink the monument for his promised border wall — a plan the Interior Department is expected to appeal — means the area is no longer a protected area for the birds.

Environmentalists say the group is using its legal challenge to block the project.

Officials from the state say the group’s legal tactics have been “outrageous in nature”

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