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Sierra Club v. County of San Diego

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20239
Nos. D064243, (Cal. Ct. App., 10/29/2014)

A California appellate court held that San Diego County's adoption of a climate action plan violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Pursuant to the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, the county issued a program environmental impact report (PEIR) and adopted a number of climate change-related mitigation measures as part of its general plan update for 2011. One of those mitigation measures, Mitigation Measure CC-1.2, committed the county to preparing a climate change action plan that would include comprehensive and enforceable greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction measures to achieve specified reductions by 2020. But the county's adopted plan failed to provide detailed deadlines and enforceable measures to ensure GHG emissions would be reduced. In fact, the plan expressly does not ensure reductions in GHG emissions. In addition, CEQA review of the plan was performed after the fact, using an addendum to the PEIR for the general plan update. As a result, the county failed to analyze the environmental impacts of the plan itself. Accordingly, the plan does not comply with the requirements of Mitigation Measure CC-1.2 in violation of CEQA. The court therefore affirmed a lower court decision ordering a supplemental EIR to measure the plan's impacts.