“It’s high-value stuff that our guys planted with no expectation a freeway would encroach on them,” Raudabaugh said.
“The High-Speed Rail Authority has seen farmland as the path of least resistance,” California Farm Bureau president Paul Wenger said in a news release. “But farmers and ranchers are resisting.”
“They wanted to avoid the cost of elevating the rail in towns, and the 99 route had a lot of wetlands,” said Raudabaugh, who’s established a legal fund for her efforts. “They’d rather challenge the farmers than the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the Army Corps of Engineers.”
Western Growers has taken no formal position on high-speed rail, but the general drift of the Irvine, Calif.-based trade association is clear.
“We’re of the opinion that it is an ill-advised project,” said Wendy Fink-Weber, director of communications at Western Growers. “We’re working with the Authority to address serious concerns about how to mitigate the impact on farmland.”
Elsewhere, the Kings County Farm Bureau and county officials there have voiced concerns about the farmland effects of the proposed Fresno to Bakersfield route.
The Rail Authority’s environmental impact report, business plan and other project information is online.