August 21, 2007

Supervisors settle global warming suit

Victorville Daily Press

SAN BERNARDINO — The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in closed session Tuesday voted to settle a lawsuit filed by state Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr., who sued the county for not properly addressing global warming in the recent general plan update.

The vote to settle was 3-1, with 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt voting in against. Board Chairman Paul Biane was on vacation.

In a page and a half statement, Mitzelfelt said he voted against the settlement because he believes the general plan already includes comprehensive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"These measures are designed to conserve energy, encourage mass transit and reduce vehicle commutes by creating more jobs closer to home," he said.

"Only a handful of California counties and cities have formally addressed climate change issues, and San Bernardino County will lead the way in the implementation of strategies and steps to enhance our future and serve as a model for others," said Supervisor Gary Ovitt.

Ovitt said that county's general plan, which took more than five years to update, would remain in affect and the county won't have to spend taxpayer money on further litigation.

Brown said county can now set the pace for how local governments can combat oil dependency and climate disruption.

"The landmark agreement establishes one of the first greenhouse has reduction plans in California," Brown said. "It is a model that I encourage other cities and counties to adopt."

The county will amend its general plan within 30 months to add a policy outlining the county's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.