Sprawl & Global Warming in the Inland Empire
> From the Los Angeles Times
> San Bernardino reaches momentous emissions deal
> Officials settle a greenhouse gas suit and agree to monitor the
> effects of rapid growth on the environment.
> By Margot Roosevelt
> Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
> 2:07 PM PDT, August 21, 2007
> Under a landmark legal settlement announced today, San Bernardino
> County officials agreed to measure greenhouse gas emissions over
> the next 30 months, figure out how much is attributable to local
> decisions and start cutting back.
> The agreement is a model for other cities and counties across
> California, state Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown said today.
> Brown had sued to force San Bernardino County to address greenhouse
> gas emissions in its long-term growth plan. The county, which is
> the largest by acreage in the lower 48 states, has been growing at
> breakneck speed in a sprawl pattern that has drawn sharp criticism
> from environmental planners. More than 500,000 new residents are
> expected to move into the county by 2030, bringing its population
> to 2.5 million. California passed a law last year that requires it
> to reduce greenhouse gases by 25% below 1990 levels over the next
> 13 years. "Sprawl is something that hasn't been thought about,"
> said Brown, who has been negotiating with counties across the state
> to alter their land use plans. "Everyone has a stake in reducing
> global warming."
> The measures San Bernardino will likely consider under the
> settlement include high-density developments that enable the use of
> public transport rather than cars; limits on parking; energy-
> efficient designs for buildings including solar panels, water reuse
> systems and on-site renewable energy production.
> "Only a handful of California counties and cities have formally
> addressed climate change issues," said Board of Supervisors Vice
> Chairman Gary C. Ovitt. "And San Bernardino will lead the way. . .
> and serve as a model for others."
> Brown's suit, which asserted that the county must account for its
> effect on global warming under California's 1970 Environmental
> Quality Act, had spurred opposition from the building industry and
> the state Chamber of Commerce, as well as local officials. It also
> contributed to a stalemate in the Legislature's negotiations over
> the state budget, with Republicans saying they would not approve a
> budget unless it contained a provision that barred global warming-
> related lawsuits under the Environmental Quality Act.
> Brown said Monday that he does not expect the outcome of the
> legislative negotiations to prevent him from negotiating with
> counties over their land use. "There was a lot of fear-mongering in
> Sacramento," the attorney general said. "There was a lot of false
> information about projects being stopped."
> Brown's efforts are part of a bold new push to reduce global
> warming emissions by attacking sprawl. Several California counties,
> including Orange and Marin, have incorporated greenhouse gas
> measures in their planning. And environmental groups have filed
> seven lawsuits in California, including one against San Bernardino
> County, to force officials to measure and mitigate carbon dioxide
> emissions, which contribute to climate change. Beginning with
> Brown's predecessor, Bill Lockyer, the attorney general's office
> has been warning counties that they must evaluate effects on the
> climate. Since April, Brown has also written to officials in
> Merced, Kern, San Joaquin and Yuba counties. "Wherever we have
> intervened," he said, "there have been nothing but positive efforts
> to deal with global warming."