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California Supreme Court Grants SANDAG Request for Review

Court Agrees To Review Appellate Court Decision On SANDAG Regional Transportation Plan

San Diego CA— The California Supreme Court has granted a request by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to review an appellate court decision on the agency’s environmental impact report (EIR) for its 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).

“The Supreme Court’s decision to grant review is a key step forward to help clarify state law on greenhouse gas emissions,” SANDAG Chair and Santee Councilmember Jack Dale said. “The appellate court decision left agencies throughout the state with questions on what standards to apply. We are hopeful the Court will help resolve the confusion.”

Wednesday March 11, 2015, the Supreme Court announced it would hear arguments on whether the EIR for a regional transportation plan must include an analysis of the plan’s consistency with the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals reflected in Executive Order No. S-3-05 to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.

On November 24, a three-judge panel of the Fourth District Court of Appeal issued a split decision on whether SANDAG fully complied with state environmental laws in preparing the EIR for its RTP. Two of the three justices concluded that the EIR needed to do more analysis. The third justice disagreed, concluding that SANDAG had applied the correct standards in analyzing the potential environmental impacts of the RTP. On December 5, the SANDAG Board of Directors decided to appeal the Fourth District Court of Appeal decision to the Supreme Court. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision to review the lower court’s ruling, the Fourth District’s decision will now be depublished.

SANDAG completed the 2050 RTP – a long-range planning document that outlines $214 billion in transportation investments – in 2011. The Cleveland National Forest Foundation and other petitioners subsequently filed suit challenging the EIR, a separate document that analyzes the environmental impacts of the RTP.

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