Appeals court orders revision of Isabella-area EIR

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The county will have to re-do its environmental impact report for the mountainous area around Lake Isabella after an appeals court ruling this week.

The 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno ruled the Sierra Club was right when it said the environmental impact section of the Kern River Valley Specific Plan didn’t adequately deal with possible future air quality issues.

The plan is the broad guideline for development in the area around the communities of Lake Isabella, Kernville, Bodfish, Oynx and the lake itself. It covers about 173 square miles along the Kern-Tulare county line and includes the north and south forks of the Kern River and parts of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

All zoning and future developments must conform with the plan.

The Kern County Board of Supervisors approved the plan in 2011 over the objections of the Sierra Club.

The club sued in Bakersfield court and Judge Kenneth C. Twisselman II ruled in favor of the county.

The club said there were four major defects in the plan.

In a unanimous decision this week, the three-justice appeals court upheld Twisselman and the county on three of the four, but ordered the county to revise the EIR to better address future air quality concerns.

The case is Sierra Club v. County of Kern, et al http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/nonpub/F071133.PDF

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