Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Filed Motion to Intervene in Lawsuit Seeking Improvements to San Diego Regional Transit Plan

Monday, January 23, 2012
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SAN FRANCISCO --- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that she filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit seeking to require the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Regional Transportation Plan to take a harder look at the region’s long-term transportation development options.

The lawsuit contends that the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared for the plan does not adequately address air pollution and climate concerns and prioritizes expanding freeways while delaying public transit projects.

“The 3.2 million residents of the San Diego region already suffer from the seventh worst ozone pollution in the country,” said Attorney General Harris. “Spending our transit dollars in the right way today will improve the economy, create sustainable jobs and ensure that future generations do not continue to suffer from heavily polluted air.”

Attorney General Harris will file in San Diego Superior Court papers seeking to intervene in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) action filed by the Cleveland National Forest Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity. In September 2011, she sent a letter to SANDAG stating that the draft EIR on the Regional Transit Plan was inadequate under CEQA. The final EIR was not substantially different.

The AG’s motion contends that the EIR on the transit plan did not adequately analyze the public health impacts of the increased air pollution. The San Diego region already has a very high cancer risk from particulate matter emitted by diesel engines and vehicles and there is no analysis as to whether this risk will increase.

In addition, the EIR did not analyze the impact of air pollution on communities in San Diego that are already burdened by significant air pollution.

While greenhouse gases initially decrease in the plan, the EIR shows that after 2020, driving miles will increase and overall greenhouse gas emissions from driving will continue to increase at least until 2050.

The transit plan also prioritizes expanding or extending freeways and highways in its early years, largely deferring investment in public transit projects, such as transit, bicycle and foot paths, when funds may not be available.

Related documents are attached to the online version of this press release at http://oag.ca.gov/.

Additional information about the California Environmental Quality Act can be found at http://ag.ca.gov/globalwarming/ceqa.php

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