Land Use Planning And Climate Change May Be Linked In Lawsuits

While Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has received fame for making global warming a priority, he has studiously avoided the land use connection. Not so for California's attorney general, who is tackling the issue head on, even warning of litigation.

Attorney General Jerry Brown told an assembly of county leaders from throughout California on Nov. 13 that "they must reduce greenhouse gases when planning new developments or run the risk of costly lawsuits.

For example, he said, counties can cut down on future carbon emissions by placing high-density housing next to offices and public transit centers, thus reducing commuter car trips.

And if they don't, Brown said, he can sue local governments to ensure they are complying with the state's landmark environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act.

Brown told county leaders in the audience to work with his office to avoid or reduce significant harm to the environment when planning developments."

"We have a duty and a right to respond to every environmental impact report," he said. "If you don't talk about greenhouses gases, we are going to send you a letter. If you still don't talk about greenhouse gases, you might get sued."

Thanks to Jennifer Alverson

Full Story: County leaders told to cut greenhouse gases - Attorney General says lawsuits can ensue if state's environmental law is not followed

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