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Environmentally Sound

Recent legal developments have provided some guidance on the difficult question of how to analyze the environmental impacts of greenhouse gases (GHGs) for land use projects under the California Environmental Quality Act. The issue first reached prominence in late 2006 after the adoption of AB 32 — The California Global Warming Solutions Act — and relates to state efforts to reduce GHGs to combat global warming.

However, legal guidance has taken a while to develop. State regulations were adopted at the very end of last year. Some local air quality districts have recently adopted or are considering adoption of regulations and guidance. There have been no court of appeal decisions on the issue and trial court decisions are not uniform. In this evolving legal area, only one thing has become clear — the GHG impacts of land use projects should be analyzed under CEQA. The challenging issue is how this analysis should be done. The answer involves an assessment of options, legal risks and policy choices by public agencies. Since CEQA is commonly used as the basis for challenging land use projects, the GHG analysis will be a critical component of the legal defensibility of projects.

Go here to read the full article, Environmentally Sound, published by Cal Law.