No Standard for Evaluating GHG Impact


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Coon: “A seemingly minor flaw can invalidate an EIR and stop or deal a significant setback to a development project.”
LOS ANGELES—A recent reversal on an EIR judgment regarding a residential-development project shows that analysis of greenhouse-gas emissions’ impact on climate change is complex and can hinder deals and development, Arthur Coon, shareholder and co-chair ofMiller Starr Regalia’s land-use practice group, tells In a 5-2 decision filed November 30, the California Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which had upheld the EIS/EIR for the controversial Newhall Ranch development project. The high court approved the EIS/EIR’s methodology analyzing the significance of the project’s greenhouse-gas emissions in terms of reductions from projected “business as usual” emissions consistent with AB 32’s statewide reductions mandate, rather than against some absolute numeric limit above the project site’s “baseline” emissions. However, it held the GHG analysis lacked supporting substantial evidence and a cogent explanation correlating the project-specific reductions to AB 32’s mandated statewide reductions so as to demonstrate consistency with the latter’s goals under the approved methodology…
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