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Brown Sues to Block Tulare County Dairy Construction

Thursday, April 19, 2007
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. sued the Tulare County Board of Supervisors on Thursday to overturn the board's approval of two mega-dairies housing more than 12,000 cattle near Allensworth State Park, a nationally registered historic site honoring a pioneering black settlement founded by a former slave.

The California Department of Justice lawsuit alleges the Tulare County Board of Supervisors on March 20 violated the California Environmental Quality Act when it approved the cow pens located about a mile away from the historic site. The suit says the dairy will produce 20 tons of manure and other contaminants each day.

"Allensworth State Park will be compromised by the odors, flies and air and water pollution generated by these large dairies in such close proximity,' the Tulare County Superior Court lawsuit said. 'By bringing a large industrial dairy operation into the immediate surroundings of the park, the dairy project threatens the park's historic integrity and its function to convey a historically accurate picture of the way of life of the Allensworth pioneers.'

The park preserves a town founded by Allen Allensworth, which was an agricultural haven for former slaves and sharecroppers in the Central Valley of California. Allensworth, a slave born in 1842, served in the U.S. military during the Civil War and was the first African American to receive the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

The lawsuit claims the Tulare County Board of Supervisors violated California environmental regulations for, among other things, approving the project 'without meaningfully evaluating and identifying the impact on the unique historical resources and setting of Allensworth State Park.'

The suit also alleges that the Tulare County Board of Supervisors did not adequately address the project's environmental impacts on the adjacent Pixley National Wildlife Refuge and the Allensworth Ecological Reserve.

A copy of the lawsuit is attached.

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