|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, August 24, 2018
Contact: Jonathon Berman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sierra Club Files Lawsuit Challenging San Diego County’s Disregard of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Measures in Approval of Three New Projects
Suit Follows Lawsuits Filed in March Concerning County’s New Climate Action Plan
San Diego, CA — Today, the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit challenging the County of San Diego’s failure to adequately evaluate greenhouse gas mitigation when it approved three new major development projects in what are currently greenfields. The suit contends that in approving the projects, the County is relying on measures that fail to meet legal standards and has violated state law requiring enforceable mitigation measures.
This suit follows one in March challenging the County’s latest iteration of its Climate Action Plan (CAP), which again failed to set forth concrete, enforceable measures to adequately reduce the climate change impacts of development in the county. In approval of these individual projects, the County is relying on the same problematic measures it sought to adopt in its CAP and is attempting to batch a group of different projects into one approval in order to avoid a state law that limits major general plan amendments to four a year.
While it was presumably responding to a successful earlier suit by the Sierra Club, instead of rendering the Plan stronger, the County instead modified its CAP and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in a manner that effectively removes its mitigation measure requiring emission reductions in the County, and allowing “offsets” to be obtained anywhere in the world, which makes them far less enforceable, and deprives the residents of the County of San Diego of some of the associated benefits of Greenhouse Gas (GHG’s) in the County. This attempt violates the mitigation measures in the CAP and EIR and the California Environmental Quality Act’s requirement that be in addition to other legal requirements. The Sierra Club is suing to enforce that measure in order to protect communities from greenhouse gas emissions and the associated other air emissions which have direct adverse public health impacts.
“Yet again, the San Diego Board of Supervisors is failing its constituents,” said Sierra Club San Diego Conservation Chair George Courser. “Rather than fulfilling its obligations, the Board is desperately rushing through their mandated review process to claim success. The law and San Diegans require and deserve more.”
Additionally, the County is batching projects in order to evade California’s law limiting General Plan Amendments (GPA) to four per year. In order to skirt the law, the County has sought to combine multiple large-scale GPAs into one amendment.
“This is the 6th challenge Chatten-Brown & Carstens has brought against the County of San Diego on behalf of the Sierra Club involving the failure of the County to comply with laws intended to reduce the impacts of climate change,” said Josh Chatten-Brown.
In one of the two challenges filed on the 2018 CAP, the Sierra Club was joined by Center for Biological Diversity, Cleveland National Forest Foundation, Climate Action Campaign, Endangered Habitats League, Environmental Center of San Diego, and Preserve Wild Santee.
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.