State Supreme Court Depublishes Farmland Mitigation Decision

A state appellate court ruling that the loss of farmland resulting from development of a prison could not be mitigated has been depublished by the sate Supreme Court. In Friends of the Kangaroo Rat v. Department of Corrections, the Fifth District Court of Appeal rejected prison opponents' contention that the state should have analyzed an agricultural easement on farmland in the vicinity as a means of mitigating the loss of more than 2,000 acres of farmland due to prison construction and other projects. The court appeared to rule that easements could not be considered mitigation for the loss of agricultural land, leaving local governments with the choice of no project or no mitigation (see CP&DR Legal Digest, January 2004). Many farming and environmental groups asked the Supreme Court to depublish the decision because the use of easements has become a fairly common mitigation measure. The state high court's decision to depublish the opinion means it cannot be cited as a precedent in other litigation. But the Fifth District's ruling in the case remains in place.