Citing the threat posed by climate change, the State Attorney General of California Jerry Brown has filed suit against a community for failing to rein in sprawl.
"California is pioneering what could be the next battleground against global warming: filing suit to hold cities and counties accountable for greenhouse gas emissions caused by poorly planned suburban sprawl.
The unprecedented action is being closely watched by states that have taken aggressive steps to combat climate change - including New York, Massachusetts and Washington.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown has sued San Bernardino County, the USA's largest in land area and one of the fastest growing, for failing to account for greenhouse gases when updating its 25-year blueprint for growth.
The California lawsuit, filed in the spring, argues that the 1970 California Environmental Quality Act requires greenhouse gases to be regulated like any other type of pollution. Sixteen states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam have similar laws, but no other state has used these laws to sue over global warming.
If the suit is successful, California cities and counties could be forced to take steps to limit sprawl, promote compact development, require builders to design energy-efficient houses that offer solar power, and encourage less driving, more mass transit and use of alternative fuels."