Attorney General Lockyer Seeks Full CEQA Review of Newhall Ranch Development Plan in Ventura County
Cites Concerns Over Serious Adverse Environmental Impact
(BAKERSFIELD, Calif.) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today joined in challenging the Newhall Ranch Project, one of the largest developments planned in the state, for failing to undergo the full environmental impact review required by the California Environmental Quality Act
In court papers filed in Kern County Superior Court, the Attorney General contends that the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) used by Los Angeles County to approval the Newhall Ranch Project "does not adequately discuss the environmental impacts of the project and does not describe all feasible measures to mitigate the impacts to the environment affecting the public and natural resources to the State. This failure to provide full disclosure to the public violates CEQA." The lawsuit over the development project was moved to Kern County Superior Court since Ventura and Los Angeles Counties are involved.
"The potential environmental impacts of the Newhall Ranch Project are massive," the Attorney General told the court. "The EIR did not adequately analyze the impacts of the Newhall Ranch Project on sensitive plant and animal species, nor did (Los Angeles County and Newhall Land and Farming Co.) adopt all feasible mitigation measures to avoid or reduce impacts on these species."
"This issue is of crucial concern to the People of the State of California given the magnitude of the projected water demand for the Newhall Ranch Project," the court filing added. "This project and the precedents set by this project could have enormous impact on water availability for other projects and water users statewide."
Located near the border of Los Angeles and Ventura County, the Newhall Ranch Project is a development providing up to 22,038 dwelling units, 67 acres of commercial development and 256 acres of business parks. The project would affect over 5,100 acres of open space natural habitat for numerous species of sensitive plant and animal species, as well as divert or otherwise alter numerous streams and the flood plain of the Santa Clara River and its tributaries.
The lawsuit challenging the project was brought by the County of Ventura, the cities of Fillmore, Oxnard, San Buena-Ventura and Santa Paula, various local air and water management agencies, the Sierra Club, the Friends of Santa Clara River, California Rural Legal Assistance and the Public Interest Law Project.