High-speed rail, which would be an economic boon to the Valley (though its construction through Stockton will be drama), took another labored step forward yesterday when the High-Speed Rail Authority okayed the next segment of the system, from Fresno to Bakersfield.
Previously the HSRA okayed the stretch from Fresno to Madera.
In this Bee story, Lemoore farmer Frank Oliveira, co-chairman of Kings County’s Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability, decried the project’s progress.
“They’re not adequately evaluating the environmental impacts of this project,” Oliveira said. “There are things in the EIR that are not intellectually honest.”
The charitable view of opposition such as Oliveira’s is that residents have valid concerns about the system’s impact on multi-generational farms, and on homes, businesses and the environment. Stockton will have the same concerns in a decade if and when the system’s construction gets up here.
But it is funny how selective south-Valley Ag can be towards environmental impact reports. When the courts issue a science-based biological opinion curtailing Delta water exports to save the collapsing estuary, farmers down there scoff at environmentalism. Environmentalists are “wackos” and “extremists.” But when their interests are at stake those EIRs suddenly become valid, and environmental impacts a deep concern.