Several Native American groups and environmental organizations have partnered to sue the California Department of Fish and Game for handing out permits for the construction of Newhall Ranch, an approved community of 21,000 homes south of State Route 126 in the Santa Clarita Valley.
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The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed Monday in the San Francisco County Superior Court, include the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Santa Clara River, California Plant Society and Wishtoyo Foundation, which claim that the permits violate state environmental codes by allowing construction they believe will severely harm the bordering area and Santa Clara River.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the Department’s approval authorizes filling or concrete lining of approximately 20 miles of tributary streams, damage to Native American burial sites, a decrease of natural resources for the American condor and the elimination of about one quarter of the rare San Fernando Valley spineflower population.
The slow-moving project calls for 13 parks, a public library, 50 miles of trails and more than 6,000 acres of natural areas, according to its website operated by Newhall Land and Farming Co., one of the project’s developers.
Although approved in 2003, Los Angeles County is yet to authorize any construction of Newhall Ranch.