April 13, 2007

State sues San Bernardino County over global warming

Victorville Daily Press
by Ryan Cox

SAN BERNARDINO — Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. filed a lawsuit Friday against the county of San Bernardino’s recently-updated general plan because it did not properly address global warming.

The lawsuit came just two days after a similar lawsuit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, the San Bernardino Audubon Society and the Sierra Club.

Brown filed the lawsuit under the California Environmental Quality Act on the basis that San Bernardino County failed to evaluate and disclose the impending impacts of the plan on climate change and air quality.

"This is a tremendously important action by the attorney general," said Adam Keats, attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.

First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt questioned the value of the state suing the county.

"If this is true, I would suggest that the state of California should be helping local governments build infrastructure and protect citizens from crime instead of suing us over what is at best a federal environmental issue," Mitzelfelt said Friday. "In my opinion the attorney general’s comments were adequately addressed in the General Plan update."

During the plan’s development, the attorney general along with the conservation groups had submitted comments that urged the county to analyze greenhouse gases and climate change in its blueprint for the future.

According to a press release sent out by the Center for Biological Diversity, the county chose to ignore the comments.

Mike Zischke, an attorney that specializes in the Environmental Quality Act and is working with county counsel, said the county’s position is solid and they will defend the General Plan.