December 4, 2019
The Environmental Council of Sacramento, Habitat 2020, the Sierra Club Sacramento Group and 350 Sacramento submitted a letter containing our follow up to comments on the City of Galt’s draft Climate Action Plan (CAP).
The City of Galt has prepared a draft Climate Action Plan (CAP) describing how it proposes to meet legal obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the City. Adoption of a CAP requires environmental analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The City proposes to conduct abbreviated environmental review with a “Negative Declaration” (MND) instead of an “Environmental Impact Report” (EIR). ECOS and partner organizations assert that abbreviated review would not be legally acceptable, and further argue that conducting separate reviews for the CAP and two related road-building studies would be impermissible “piece-mealing” (analyzing environmental impacts of a single project as if it were several separate projects, to minimize apparent impacts).
Below are some of our key points.
- Preparing an MND for the CAP would be inconsistent with CEQA requirements. Our earlier letter demonstrates with substantial evidence that the City’s draft CAP does not meet the requirements for a qualified GHG reduction plan or for mitigation enforceability, per CEQA Guidelines . . . We cited unsupported use of statewide targets, failure to meet the State’s 2050 target, non-enforceability of virtually all proposed mitigation measures, inadequate monitoring and update protocol, and lack of implementation funding.
- The above would support a fair argument that adopting the draft CAP as a qualified GHG reduction plan which could streamline (i.e. diminish) CEQA review for future projects will likely have a significant effect on the environment. Pursuant to 14 CCR §15064 such a potential impact requires environmental analysis via an EIR.
- The City’s grant agreement provides for concurrent development of three planning documents… [which] appear to be one whole project. The second two are clearly directly related. The CAP . . . would have, “a potential . . . reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment” by reducing or obviating future GHG analysis of the urban development made possible by extending Carillion Boulevard . . . analyzing the . . . potential environmental effects of these three plans together in one document would fall more properly within CEQA’s regulatory requirements.