Environmentalist Forcing County Greenhouse Gas Reduction

Two lawsuits by the Sierra Club, the Cleveland National Forest Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity are asserting that San Diego County is not doing enough to curtail greenhouse gasses. One is against the county government and the other against the San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG. These well funded environmentalists have prevailed in both cases at the Superior Court, then again this November before the 4th District Court of Appeal.

Why should Nevada County worry about the wackos winning court case in San Diego?

Experts on global warming and municipal governance said the outcome of these suits could provide crucial direction for cities and counties across California, if not nationwide.

The environmentalists allege that local government officials profess to care about climate change but don’t back it up with detailed prescriptions for “smart growth” and other ways of curbing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Why should Nevada County worry? Because the table has been set for environmental lawsuits to force local agencies to do more to reduce greenhouse gases. Remember the Greenhouse Gas Audits that the Sierra Business Council did for the County, Nevada City and Grass Valley?

These green house gas audits were to establish a baseline for greenhouse emissions. Once these audits were complete, the environmental wackos have a tool for measuring local governments progress toward reducing greenhouse gases. Without the established baseline there was no valid measurement criteria. Now that the baseline is established, they have a starting point to measure progress toward greenhouse gas reduction. They have a tool to beat local government into submission. And, if that fails then court action.

The local environmental wackos now have another tool to stop any development that they claim will not do enough to reduce greenhouse gases. They can use the courts to force more greenhouse gas reduction by local governments, just like in San Diego, forcing time lines and specific reduction goals.

To meet the goals set in the courts, local governments will have to reduce economic developments. I predict the first target will be the proposed shopping mall at Dorsey Drive and SR-20, on the right side of the new interchange.

I warned both the County and Cities to reject the free offers of greenhouse gas audits (HERE), paid for by PG&E, and conducted by the Sierra Business Council. These government agencies will soon rue the day they accepted these free services. Nothing is free, there is always a payback. Stay tuned for the greenhouse gas reduction lawsuits that will be used to torpedo local economic development.

About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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5 Responses to Environmentalist Forcing County Greenhouse Gas Reduction

  1. All, I can say is that it is important to put pressure on San Diego County and every local and regional government, in many different ways, and as much as possible, to reduced carbon emissions now.


    • Russ Steele says:


      Why do we need to reduce carbon emissions? There is no proven scientific connection between man-made CO2 emissions and global warming that I am aware of. Can you point me to the science that proves human CO2 emission have an impact on the climate? Thanks


  2. Russ Steele says:

    Here is the link to a story about the lawsuit: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/nov/29/sandag-county-lawsuits-climate-change-appeals/

    It appears there was in fact two lawsuits.

    Once the baselines are established there is nothing in the law that prevents environmentalist from blocking development in the County and Cities by claiming they are not doing enough to reduce CO2 emissions. The key is the baseline, which establishes a metric upon when the environmentalist can measure progress toward some imaginary goal. Stay tuned.


    • stevefrisch says:

      Nonsense, GHG emissions are ALREADY required and covered by CEQA, thus this merely provides information the cities or lead agency need anyway.


  3. steve says:

    Boy, nothing could be further from the truth.

    There is a legal requirement in San Diego to plan for GHG emission reduction; SB 375 requires that every Metropolitan Planning Organization in the state do such a plan. Thus when the plan was challenged by environmental interests in San Diego they had legal standing to do so. SB 375 does not apply to areas of the state without MPO’s, which includes most of the state including Grass Valley and Nevada City, thus no one would have legal standing to use the data in the GHG inventories to sue a GHG emission reduction plan.

    However, GHG emissions are required to be analyzed under CEQA under existing law; thus having a baseline of data for GHG emissions gives local government the data they need to establish baselines for all future proposals…if the cities did not have the baselines the developers of projects would be required to provide a baseline…in other words it saves future developers money because it means they do not have to do their own baseline analysis, and it saves the local government money because they don’t have to pay for a baseline.

    In addition unless a jurisdiction can demonstrate GHG emission reductions as a result of a local project they can not qualify for the hundreds of millions and soon to be billions of dollars being distributed to local governments as part of the distribution of Cap and Trade revenues…..so if you don’t have a baseline you can’t prove reductions.

    We think it makes a lot more sense, since AB 32 is the law, and billions is being raised and distributed, and Nevada County residents are paying for the Cap and Trade program as you regularly bemoan and exaggerate, for Nevada County residents and local governments to also be able to BENEFIT from those programs. Otherwise one is kind of cutting of ones nose to spite their face. Doing otherwise would be akin to saying ‘because I don’t agree that the government has the right to tax I am not going to fix our roads’.

    One can play Don Quixote all they want.. but tilting at windmills as a strategy for local economic development makes absolutely no sense….the world exists, laws that have passed exist, windmills exist, Pancho is right, it is a windmill…..


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