Ag Working Group Addresses High-Speed Rail Issues

The proposed development of a high-speed train (HST) system in California is raising concerns among San Joaquin Valley growers. Three segments of the proposed HST system will travel through 173 miles of the San Joaquin Valley — the San Jose to Merced section, Merced to Fresno section, and the Fresno to Bakersfield section.

Potential route alignments and station locations are being evaluated through an environmental review process under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Several farm organizations and individual farmers have filed suit, seeking an injunction and contending the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is inadequate.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority established the Agricultural Working Group, an independent advisory group, to assist the Authority in addressing specific issues being raised by the farm community. The working group, which is chaired by San Joaquin Valley grower John Diener, has published six white papers providing responses to those concerns. Topics include bee pollination, irrigation and pesticide regulations.

The papers can be downloaded and further information can be found on the Agricultural Working Group website.