Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Super Center Needs to Consider Carbon Emissions Under CEQA

WalMart's analysis of greenhouse gas emissions is inadequate
Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2009

A San Bernardino Superior Court judge ruled against Wal-Mart’s plan for a super center in the desert city of Yucca Valley, partly on the grounds that the giant retailer failed to take measures to reduce its contribution to global warming.

The retailer contended that the estimated 7,000 metric tons per year of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that would result from the store’s operation was too insignificant to require such measures under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Judge Barry Plotkin, relying on contrary evidence from state air quality officials, ruled otherwise, in a case that signals a growing legal consensus that climate change must be considered by businesses and governments promoting new developments. Judge Plotkin also found the retailer’s economic analysis flawed and the retailer’s analysis of ozone and dust pollution inadequate.

"California is in the forefront," said Matthew Vespa, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, which sued Wal-Mart and Yucca Valley. The center also won a case last year against Desert Hot Springs after the city failed to analyze the GHG emissions that would result from a golf course and 2,600-home development.

Environmental activists have had a powerful ally in California Attorney General Jerry Brown, who has won agreements from San Bernardino County, ConocoPhillips, the Port of Los Angeles, the San Diego Airport Authority, and Cilion, a Kern County ethanol plant, to measure or mitigate GHGs.

Read the complete article in the LA Times.

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