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County Supervisors Rescind Climate Plan, Will Move Forward With New One
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Credit: County of San Diego
The County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to rescind the Climate Action Plan it adopted in February 2018 and move forward in creating a replacement.
Supervisor Dianne Jacob said she hopes that the county gets it right with a new version.
"Way too much money has been spent, way too much time wasted," she said.
Various environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and Environmental Center of San Diego, filed a petition challenging the 2018 plan as violating the California Environmental Quality Act. Golden Door Properties also filed a lawsuit on similar grounds.
The San Diego chapter of the Sierra Club hopes county officials have finally realized that their approach is not working.
“I think that this is a day of reckoning,” said Richard Miller, the Sierra Club’s San Diego chapter director. “That they realize that they are going to have to bring in other parties to this. They’re going to have to for communities and actually start to listen to what we’re trying to get them to do.”
He is hopeful that the next Climate Action Plan will meet state and legal guidelines and help reduce the region’s greenhouse gas emissions carbon footprint.
“They are going to really have to press developers to make sure that they are doing everything they can to reduce their carbon,” Miller said.
On Dec. 24, 2018, a San Diego Superior Court judge agreed, ordering the county to vacate the plan and certification of the supplemental environmental impact report. The judge ruled that the plan didn't comply with county or state goals for reduced emissions.
The state Court of Appeal later affirmed that Superior Court ruling. However, the appeals court also ruled that the 26 greenhouse gas reduction measures in the Climate Action Plan were compliant with CEQA, and weren't inconsistent with the county's General Plan.
The county Planning & Development Services department is now developing a new plan, which should be ready for board review within the next two years, a spokeswoman said.
At Wednesday's board meeting, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said he was looking forward to a robust debate on forming a new CAP. California is experiencing its worst wildfire season this year and its hottest temperatures, Fletcher said.
"Climate change is real. It is here, and we have to take actions that align with that reality," Fletcher added. "We have a mandate for change."
Supervisor Jim Desmond said that while the board's vote was more or less perfunctory, he's "willing to work towards a reasonable, rational plan" resulting in cleaner air and water for everyone.
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