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Thursday, May 12 2011 07:57 AM

Last-minute objections based on greenhouse gases

The documents from attorney Cory Briggs that appeared at Tehachapi City Hall the day of the March 28 Walmart hearing contained a cover letter and seven pages of attachments consisting of “Reasons for Denying Project” and an index of exhibit items on the accompanying computer disk.


Briggs's reasons for supporting the appeal pertain for the most part to greenhouse gas and global warming issues.

The exhibit files are news stories and reports of environmental studies.

As lead agency, the city is responsible for providing responses to the objections.

The city's staff and team of consultants began analyzing the objections a few days after the March 28 hearing, Tehachapi Community Development Director David James said. 


Less parking?

The document urges additional mitigating measures for greenhouse gas emissions in regard to traffic and noise.

“Such measures include increasing access to transit, developing the site in away that promotes the use of alternative transportation, limiting parking supply, encouraging car-pooling, and taking measures that make alternative transportation more convenient (e.g., providing bike parking and showers on-site),” the document says.

Briggs also contends that the city's analysis of greenhouse gas emissions is inadequate because it fails to adopt a “threshold of significance.” 

The objections further assert that measures for emissions reductions are “cherry picked.”

The California Environmental Quality Act  requires the project's Environmental Impact Report to address the cumulative effects of the project, which is like a multi-dimensional ripple in time and space.

In regard to water and the effect the presence of Walmart will have on future housing and retail growth, in objection No. 9.01 Briggs states: “The cumulative impact on groundwater should take into account all past, present and future users of the groundwater basin, not just those on the project list.” 


Protocol

Objections based on greenhouse gases, James said, “is low-hanging fruit” because the guidelines are still nebulous.

Greenhouse gases and urban decay are two issues that are fairly new under the California Environmental Quality Act, he said.

“With a new issue it takes a while for the protocol to settle out.”

He is confident the Tehachapi EIR will stand up to the challenge.

“I think our consultants did an excellent job,” he said. “We have a tight EIR. It's a well-written document.”

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