Appeals court upholds overturning of San Diego County Climate Action Plan
The County of San Diego now has a chance to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector rather than encouraging them.
With an appellate ruling backing up the great majority of an earlier trial court ruling, a multi-year legal battle initiated by the Sierra Club, and joined by EHL and many other groups, has once again sent a flawed Climate Action Plan, or CAP, back for revision. The County declined to appeal the ruling and EHL now looks forward to a new and collaborative process.
Through CAPs, local jurisdictions can do their share in meeting state GHG reduction targets. But rather than reducing sprawling development that produces high vehicle miles traveled, the old CAP ignored land use and instead offered an easy way for developers to buy their way out of emissions reductions using out-of-state, unaccountable, and even bogus “carbon offsets.” While the court did not agree with our contention that the County’s General Plan required GHG emissions to be reduced solely in-County, it rejected the County’s offset system and ruled that a “smart growth” alternative that reduces automobile commuting must be prepared.
EHL pledges to work with the County on a revised plan that sifts direction and aligns with the County's own “smart growth” General Plan and with the new housing and transportation plans coming from the San Diego Association of Governments.
EHL was represented by Chatten-Brown, Carstens & Minteer. The Golden Door Spa, our partner plaintiff, was represented by Lathan & Watkins.