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Angeles County | Community News File / Playa Vista

3 Groups File Suit to Halt Work at DreamWorks Site

January 27, 1998

A trio of environmental groups filed a lawsuit in federal court Monday, charging that the Army Corp of Engineers violated the Endangered Species Act when it issued permits for the construction of the Playa Vista development, the planned home of DreamWorks SKG studio.

The groups also sought a temporary restraining order to halt work at the site east of Lincoln Boulevard and south of Jefferson Boulevard for 10 days. U.S. District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew granted the order, but only on the condition that the groups post a $50,000 bond--money they did not have.

Sharon Duggan, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, Wetlands Action Network, CalPIRG and the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity, said she was "deeply troubled" about the bond stipulation and was not sure if her clients would be able to post the amount.

Courts typically require a bond to protect the defendant should a restraining order result in financial loss.

Playa Vista developers began construction Jan. 22 on the freshwater marsh component of the 1,087-acre project.

A Playa Vista spokeswoman said Monday the company is confident that Lew will lift the restraining order once he has reviewed the evidence.

The activists unsuccessfully appealed a similar suit to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco last year. They claimed the project violated the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and other federal laws.

The suit filed Monday claims the Army Corp and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service failed to ensure "non-jeopardy" of the California brown pelican and nine other endangered or threatened species in allowing Playa Vista to go forward.

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