A Citizens’ group this week filed a Verified Petition challenging CARB’s 2017 Greenhouse Gas Scoping Plan, alleging that several provisions of the Scoping Plan were improperly promulgated and result in racial and financial discrimination.The Two Hundred v. California Air Resources Control Board  (Case # 18CECG01494, 4/27/2018  Fresno County Superior Court).

The Verified Petition contains Eleven Causes of Action under various statutes ranging from the Fair Employment Housing Act, CEQA, the California Clean Air Act, the California Global Warning Solutions Act (GWSA), to violations of the Administrative Procedures Act and due process and equal protection claims under the California Constitution.

The Petitioners, “The 200” are described in the Petition as: “a California-base unincorporated association of community leaders, opinion makers and advocates working in California (including in Fresno County) and elsewhere on behalf of low income minorities who are, and have been, affected by California’s housing crisis and  increasing wealth gap. “

Defendant/Respondent CARB is the state agency directed by the Legislature to implement SB 32, which requires the State to set a target to reduce its GHG emissions to forty percent below 1990 levels by 2030 (“2030 Target”).  CARB adopts a “Scoping Plan” every five years, as described in the GWSA. The most recent Scoping Plan sets out the GHG reduction measures that CARB believes will be required to achieve the 2030 Target (“2017 Scoping Plan”). The 2017 Scoping Plan was approved in December 2017.

The Petition asserts that:

“The most staggering, unlawful, and racist components of the 2017 Scoping Plan target new housing. The Plan includes four measures, challenged in this action,  that increase the cost and litigation risks of building housing, intentionally worsen congestion (including commute times and vehicular emissions) for workers who already spend more than two hours on the road instead of with their families, and further increase the cost of  transportation fuels and electricity.”

The Petition targets four new measures:: (A) The new Vehicle Miles Traveled mandate; (B) The new “net zero” CEQA threshold for GHG emissions (C) The new CO2 per capita targets for local climate action plans for 2030 and 2050; and (D) The “Vibrant Communities”policies in Appendix C to the 2017 Scoping Plan, to the extent they incorporate the VMT, net Zero and new CO2 per capita targets.

The Petition seeks to have these four measures withdrawn until additional CEQA and other additional public review is undertaken.

Craig A. Tristao is a Partner in the litigation and transactions departments of the firm’s Fresno office. He provides representation to clients in litigation matters involving agricultural law, environmental law, construction law, land use and natural resource law, water law, probate and estates, and eminent domain matters that involve the California High Speed Rail Authority. Craig also assists clients with regulatory compliance issues concerning the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Porter-Cologne Act, and the Clean Air Act (CAA). In addition to litigation, Craig also represents clients before the Regional Water Quality Control Boards and the State Water Resources Control Board, air districts, and the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). He has also been named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for 2015-2018 (2.5% of lawyers practicing under 10 years). You can contact Craig at (559) 248-4820 or ctristao@ch-law.com.