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Robert Thornton, Nossaman Environment and Land Use Partner, Quoted In Bakersfield Californian On Win For Bakersfield

06/07/2016 Bakersfield Californian

Nossaman Environment and Land Use Partner Robert Thornton was quoted in the Bakersfield Californian story  “Work On Centennial Corridor Can Continue For Now, Judge Decides. ” The story covered a recent win for the City of Bakersfield, Mr. Thornton’s client, when Kern County Superior Court Judge Kenneth C. Twisselman II denied a request for a preliminary injunction from attorneys for Concerned Citizens About Centennial Corridor that would have continued to halt work on the Centennial Corridor project. The Centennial Corridor project will build a connection between Highway 58 and the Westside Parkway in the Bakersfield region.

One of the issues that was argued before Judge Twisselman was whether Section 4F of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966—which prohibits use of federally owned parks for a project if there is a feasible and prudent use for the avoidance of that property—was applicable in the case. Opponents of the project have argued that it should take Bakersfield parkland in order to complete the project. Mr. Thornton argued that the 1966 DOT Act  “is one of the oldest federal environmental laws,” and added that “You can’t mitigate your way out of the problem if you’re taking a recreational facility.” He also stated that the alternative routes being proposed by the project’s opponents eliminated “the guts of the park, and for that reason the agency (has) reasonably determined here in the CEQA evaluation that that presented a barrier.”

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