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Environmentalists Settle Lawsuit on Plan Bay Area

Two down, two to go. Rarely has a regional transportation/land use plan been sued by so many diverse groups. Environmentalists settled with Bay Area regional planning agencies with assurances that the 2017 plan will better account for GHG reductions.
June 24, 2014, 8am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"The Sierra Club, Communities for a Better Environment, and Earthjustice argued in their lawsuit that Plan Bay Area is too weak in reducing air pollution, including greenhouse (GHG) emissions," writes Denis Cuff of the Contra Costa Times. 

In addition to better tracking of GHG reductions, Matt Williams, transportation committee chair for the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay chapter, said that the June 18th settlement [PDF] "calls for regional agencies to track and disclose progress in getting housing built in city and county priority development areas." 

The lawsuit on the adoption of Plan Bay Area last July was directed against the Bay Area's two regional planning agencies, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).

According to the Earthjustice press release, the settlement also focuses on how freight movement affects public health, particularly in vulnerable communities.

"This settlement requires the agencies to create a real plan for reducing the harmful pollution from trucks and trains moving freight through already highly polluted communities," said Maya Golden-Krasner, staff attorney for Communities for a Better Environment. 

"In March, the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area dropped its lawsuit against the plan in exchange for a commitment that the agencies do more to plan for housing growth in the 2017 plan," adds Cuff, leaving two outstanding lawsuits, according to to a phone call with John Goodwin, spokesman for MTC:

Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that the former suit was filed by "the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation...They contend the plan would illegally require high-density development - 'stack and pack,' as the foundation described it - and had failed to consider less-restrictive alternatives."

The latter suit, also called "Stop Agenda 21", was discussed here recently.

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Published on Friday, June 20, 2014 in Contra Costa Times
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