Judge rejects San Diego County’s climate action plan

By Richard Allyn, Reporter

Posted: Dec 28, 2018 9:40 PM PST
Updated: Dec 28, 2018 10:53 PM PST

CBS 8 San Diego

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Environmental activists are calling on San Diego County leaders to adopt a new climate action plan.

For the third time, a judge Friday rejected San Diego County’s plan, saying it doesn’t comply with goals for reduced emissions. It was a ruling that environmental leaders praised and they used the moment to urge the County Board of Supervisors to create a comprehensive climate action plan.

The new court ruling found that San Diego County’s climate action plan fails to comply with its own and the state’s goals of cutting back on carbon emissions. The judge rejected the county’s proposal to use carbon credits from out of the county or out of the country, saying that offsetting greenhouse gas emissions in other parts of the world does nothing to help us here at home.

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Sacramento Region Highway CapCity Projects

On October 3, 2018, the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) sent the following letter to the California Department of Transportation regarding the Sacramento Region Highway CapCity Projects.

Dear Director Benipal:

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) is concerned that planned freeway expansions in the Sacramento region will induce major increases in vehicle volumes, contravening the spirit and intent of state legislation such as SB 375. We are most concerned about the CapCity (SR 51) expansion (including possible widening of the American River bridge), and also concerned about the planned I-5 HOV lanes between Sacramento and Elk Grove, and the proposed widening of I-80 between Sacramento and Davis.

We appreciate the CapCity project team’s continued engagement with ECOS and its willingness to discuss the project’s progression. However, ECOS would like to expand this conversation into a broader discussion about regional transportation challenges and priorities. We are willing to work with Caltrans staff to coordinate discussions with other regional agencies and stakeholders with the aim of considering potential alternatives to address these challenges.

Following are some reasons why this conversation is timely: CARB’s greenhouse gas scoping plan shows that we must reduce VMT by 15% to meet 2050 goals for GHG emissions. Guidelines for SB 743 specify that the principal criterion in evaluating transportation projects is now VMT reduction, as opposed to congestion relief. Based on these Guidelines, Caltrans will need to consider induced travel demand from future expansion projects, such as caused by land use impacts. The Sacramento Transportation Authority is planning a tax measure for the 2020 ballot. SACOG is developing its draft preferred scenario the 2020 MTP/SCS. Finally, the fate of SB 1 hinges on the outcome of Proposition 6 in November.

The proposed CapCity expansion is emblematic of multiple other prospective projects in the region, and raises questions about historic approaches to longstanding problems as well as approaches to future challenges the region faces. We acknowledge that the challenges involved are significant, and that a rethinking of potential solutions also has great hurdles. We believe that the convergence of challenges and opportunities we face warrants an exploration of additional tools to increase travel-mode options, support infill housing and economic needs, and reduce VMT with increased transit operations and emerging strategies such as congestion pricing and shared mobility.

We would all benefit from a broadly based conversation regarding alternative solutions for regional mobility before major public funds are committed to significant increases in highway capacity. We hope that you will consider cooperating in such a discussion with ECOS, and we are sharing this letter with other organizations and government bodies that we hope to include in this conversation as well. We look forward to discussing possible meeting times and locations.

Sincerely,

Ralph Propper
ECOS President

Click here to read the full letter in PDF.

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Newbridge Specific Plan Update

September 13, 2018

ECOS has submitted a comment letter on the Newbridge Specific Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report. Below is an excerpt from the letter.

ECOS is vitally concerned about the preservation of natural resources both in developed and undeveloped areas. Economic pressures from climate change, international competition, and a host of other sources demand that this region maintain the highest possible quality of life in order to attract and create the most desirable and successful opportunities for our residents. Numerous surveys and research analyses support the importance of access to nature for optimal health and quality of life, especially for children. Smart urban development and preservation of natural resources go hand in hand, and this DEIR, more than many, reflects the complexities of this parcel in both regards.

Click here to read the letter (PDF).

Click here for a copy of the Transit Assessments analysis to support our recommended mitigation measure on supporting the transit system proposed in the document.

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