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Rep. Adam Schiff – High Speed Rail Should Not Run Through Angeles National Forest

Posted by on Jan 15th, 2015 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

In Letter with Rep. Chu, Schiff Urges High Speed Rail Authority to Scrap Plans to Study Route Running Through Forest

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) expressed opposition to the California High-Speed Rail (HSR) Authority’s plan to study running the high-speed rail through the Angeles National Forest. The original route from Palmdale to Burbank proposed by the Authority bypassed the Angeles National Forest altogether and ran alongside California State Route 14. This is strongly preferable to the new proposal to tunnel through the forest, which wasn’t even under consideration prior to this summer.

Schiff has worked for years to preserve and protect the Angeles National Forest and surrounding Rim of the Valley. He authored legislation signed by President George W. Bush to study the formation of a new or expanded recreation area in the region. Within the next few weeks, the National Park Service is expected to release its draft report on which areas should be given the enhanced resources and protection that would result from their inclusion in such a recreation area and Schiff will be introducing legislation in the upcoming session of Congress to make such an expanded park a reality. In addition, President Obama recently designated the San Gabriel Mountains a national monument and has directed the Forest Service to devise a management plan to govern the new monument. Building a high-speed rail through the Angeles Forrest would run contrary to both of these important initiatives.

“California needs high-speed rail – but it needs to be done in the right way, with proper thought given to how a particular route will affect communities and the environment. I believe the HSR Authority should focus its attention on the original route instead of studying any proposal to go through the Angeles National Forest. Such a proposal to go through the forest will only further delay construction of the high-speed rail throughout California due to the potentially negative impacts it would have on the Forest and surrounding Foothills.”

Schiff also joined with Rep. Judy Chu (D-El Monte) to send a letter this month to Dan Richard, the Chair of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, urging him to scrap the new “East Corridor” route from consideration altogether. In the letter, Schiff and Chu write: “Planning massive construction of a rail corridor through the forest while the Rim of the Valley and San Gabriel Mountains are under active consideration as a recreation area, and before the Forest Service can devise a management plan for the existing monument makes little sense. Either planning for the rail line would have to be put on hold for years, or any plan that would go through the forest would have to be subject to radical revision later. Either way, the costs to the project in dollars, delay, and opposition would be high. We do not believe the East Corridor is a viable alternative to connecting the high-speed rail between Palmdale and Burbank. Any benefits gained by going through the forest do not outweigh the far greater costs to the project and the damage that might be done to our environment. We therefore ask the Authority to abandon any study to build the high-speed rail through the Angeles National Forest. “

The full letter can be found below:

Mr. Dan Richard
Chair
California High-Speed Rail Authority
770 L Street, Suite 800
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Mr. Richard:

We are writing to express our strong concern over the recent proposal to route the High-Speed Rail through the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. As Members of Congress who have worked for more than a decade to preserve the beauty of the mountains, forest, and wildlife, we share the concerns expressed by our constituents that this new proposed route would be damaging to an environment we are working so hard to preserve. We urge the California High-Speed Rail Authority to reject consideration of tunneling through the Angeles National Forest.

Since our election to Congress, we have worked hard to preserve the Angeles National Forest, the Rim of the Valley Corridor, and the San Gabriel Mountains. In the upcoming session of Congress, we will each be introducing legislation that would preserve the Rim of the Valley and San Gabriel Mountains as part of a new or expanded national recreation area. In addition, President Obama recently designated the San Gabriel Mountains as part of a national monument. This means that the U.S. Forest Service will now have three years to devise a management plan to govern this new monument.

Planning massive construction of a rail corridor through the forest while the Rim of the Valley and San Gabriel Mountains are under active consideration as a recreation area, and before the Forest Service can devise a management plan for the existing monument makes little sense. Either planning for the rail line would have to be put on hold for years, or any plan that would go through the forest would have to be subject to radical revision later. Either way, the costs to the project in dollars, delay, and opposition would be high.

We do not believe the East Corridor is a viable alternative to connecting the high-speed rail between Palmdale and Burbank. Any benefits gained by going through the forest do not outweigh the far greater costs to the project and the damage that might be done to our environment. We therefore ask the Authority to abandon any study to build the high-speed rail through the Angeles National Forest.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. We appreciate your consideration of our thoughts and look forward to working you on this issue moving forward.

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