Supreme Court Rebuffs Natl. Assoc. of Home Builders

The U.S. Supreme Court turned down a request by the National Association of Home Builders to hear their lawsuit against the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District's use of the 'indirect source rule', better known as a 'smog fee'.

The ruling by the court has tremendous implications for air districts as they view land uses as sources of air pollution. Sprawling, auto-dependent developments may be forced to pay "indirect source fees" to the regulators because of trips generated.

The Home Builders had already lost at the U.S. District and Appeals court levels.

"The news... hands a victory to air pollution regulators and environmental groups. It also means that Bay Area air regulators, who had been watching the case with interest, are likely to adopt a similar rule in the next few years.

"Developers have been able to largely avoid the same regulations that apply to a smokestack," said Paul Cort, an (Earthjustice) attorney who represented the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund in the case. "But these projects do create pollution by adding to the vehicle miles traveled."

"The decisions (developers) make on where to build and how to build do make a difference," said Cort. "Smarter development means reduced air pollution. This creates an incentive to promote infill development, to build next to existing mass transit, and to build more pedestrian friendly projects."

Thanks to Gita Dev

Full Story: Environmental groups, state regulators win major smog case over home developers

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