This story originally appeared on PressDemocrat.com at:

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/business/6569120-181/environmental-groups-file-suit-in

The Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club have filed a lawsuit challenging a decision by the Napa County Board of Supervisors to approve a vineyard conversion project between the city of Napa and Lake Berryessa.

The board in December approved the Walt Ranch project, which would open up 209 acres of new vineyards. Craig and Kathryn Hall, owners of the Hall and Walt wine labels, are backers of the project.

The lawsuit, filed in Napa County Superior Court, alleges the project violates the California Environmental Quality Act and destroys habitats for threatened species.

Prior to the county approval of the project in December, the Napa Sierra Club filed an appeal objecting plans to clear cut 14,000 trees for vineyard development, eliminating wildland habitat, wiping out carbon stores which counter greenhouse gases, and destabilizing the soil.

Although opponents of the project have been unsuccessful in halting the project, their pressure significantly reduced its size. Original plans called for the removal of 28,000 trees, which has been reduced to half that amount. The entire project, in the works for 10 years, has been reduced from the original plans by 42 percent.

North Bay Business Journal contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared on PressDemocrat.com at:

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/business/6569120-181/environmental-groups-file-suit-in