Attorney General Comments on Draft EIR for First SB 375 Sustainable Communities Strategy

By Leslie Z. Walker

San Diego Association of Governments has prepared the first draft Regional Transportation Plan (“RTP”) to include a Sustainable Communities Strategy (“SCS”), as required by Senate Bill 375. As drafted, the SCS will achieve the California Air Resources Board’s (“CARB”) 2020 and 2035 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. CARB staff reviewed the draft RTP/SCS and the quantification of the greenhouse gas reductions expected from implementation of the plan in an Informational Report. The report found that the RTP/SCS would meet the 2020 target of a 7 percent per capita reduction and would just meet the 2035 target of a 13 percent per capita reduction.

On September 16, 2011, the Attorney General submitted a letter commenting on the draft Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) for the RTP/SCS. The letter criticizes the draft EIR’s analysis of local air quality and greenhouse gas impacts. It claims that the draft EIR’s analysis of local air pollution resulting from the RTP/SCS is inadequate because it focuses on whether the RTP/SCS conforms to a federally approved state plan to meet federal air quality standards. The letter further remarked that the draft EIR failed to discuss “the impacts of the increased air pollution that will result from carrying out the RTP/SCS on communities already severely impacted by air pollution.” The letter further criticizes the RTP/SCS for failure to propose adequate mitigation measures to reduce or offset the impacts on localized air pollution. Finally, the Attorney General alleges that the RTP/SCS is inconsistent with the State’s climate objectives because the per capita GHG emissions from cars and light-duty trucks increase after 2020.

Leslie Z. Walker is an attorney at Abbott & Kindermann, LLP.  For questions relating to this article or any other California land use, real estate, environmental and/or planning issues contact Abbott & Kindermann, LLP at (916) 456-9595.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Abbott & Kindermann, LLP, or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because of the changing nature of this area of the law and the importance of individual facts, readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

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