Role of state law at issue in bullet train lawsuit

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Updated: 5/20/2014 5:16 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A state appellate court is hearing arguments over whether California's $68 billion bullet train project should be exempt from the state's stringent environmental regulations.

The hearing Tuesday before a three-judge panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal comes after a decision last year that gave a federal rail board authority over the California project.

The state agency that oversees the project argues that it now falls under federal jurisdiction and therefore should be exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act.

If the judges agree, the agency would be freed from a host of regulatory and procedural requirements that could slow down construction. Opponents argue that the CEQA process is the best way for residents to have input.

The lawsuit is one of several involving the high-speed project.

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