Center for Biological Diversity

Protecting endangered species and wild places of western North America
and the Pacific through science, policy, education, and environmental law.

For Immediate Release: May 1, 2001
For More Information Contact:
Peter Galvin (707) 923-4654
Barbara Wampole (661) 257-3036
Teresa Savaike (661) 263-9624



Los Angeles-The Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Santa Clara River filed a lawsuit yesterday in Federal District Court in Los Angeles against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) and the Newhall Land and Farming Company (Newhall).

The suit was filed under the National Environmental Policy Act and seeks to have the Court order the Army Corps to suspend its approval of a 1998 Environmental Impact Statement authorizing several large-scale Newhall development projects along the Santa Clara River until a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement is prepared which addresses and mitigates impacts to the endangered toad.

In 1998, the Army Corps of Engineers granted a permit under the Clean Water Act to Newhall to fill in wetlands in order to facilitate a series of massive developments along the Santa Clara River in Los Angeles County. The permit was granted after the environmental review showed no impacts to endangered arroyo toads.

Conservation organizations, long suspicious of repeated assertions by Newhall and Army Corps that the toad did not occur inside their lands hired their own certified biologist, who recently confirmed the existence arroyo toads in the Santa Clara River on Newhall lands.

"While we're glad that this endangered species was found we are terribly disappointed that throughout the Santa Clara River area destruction of very rare and viable toad habitat was allowed to occur." Teresa Savaike of Friends of the Santa Clara River.

Peter Galvin, spokesman for the Center for Biological Diversity stated "The Santa Clara River is one of the few places left with habitat for the arroyo toad and one of the last living rivers in the Los Angeles area; yet the Army Corps continues to be a rubber-stamp for Newhall and other developers, promoting destructive urban sprawl while ignoring environmental laws."

The Center for Biological Diversity is a science-based environmental advocacy organization. The Center was founded in 1989, and has more than 6,000 members. In California, the Center has offices in Berkeley and San Diego. The Center works to protect endangered species and wild places throughout western North America and the Pacific through science, policy, education and environmental law.

The case has been assigned to Federal Judge Lourdes G. Baird and is numbered (01-03922)

The plaintiffs in the suit are represented by Iryna Kwasny, Philip Shakhnis and James Wheaton of the Environmental Law Foundation (Oakland).

To view photos or for general ecological information regarding the arroyo toad.


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