Over the previous 5 years, Fontana has been the statewide epicenter of warehouse improvement close to faculties, hospitals, and different delicate websites
LOS ANGELES – California Lawyer Common Rob Bonta in the present day introduced an progressive settlement with the Metropolis of Fontana to guard susceptible communities from air pollution related to industrial improvement the place they stay, work, and go to highschool. At present’s settlement, as soon as entered by the courtroom, will resolve allegations that the Metropolis of Fontana violated the California Environmental High quality Act (CEQA) in approving the Slover and Oleander warehouse undertaking in south Fontana. As a part of in the present day’s settlement, developer Duke Realty will likely be required to undertake substantial mitigation measures to attenuate the impacts of the Slover and Oleander warehouse undertaking to the encircling neighborhood. Extra broadly, the Metropolis of Fontana final week adopted an ordinance, as required by the settlement, setting stringent environmental requirements for all future warehouse improvement in Fontana.
“For years, warehouse improvement in Fontana went unchecked, and it’s our most susceptible communities which have paid the worth,” stated Lawyer Common Rob Bonta. “South Fontana residents shouldn’t have to decide on between financial alternative and clear air. They deserve each. At present’s settlement demonstrates how progressive options can be utilized to deal with environmental injustices, with out hindering improvement. As a result of after we construct, we should construct responsibly. Most significantly, the impacts of this settlement aren’t restricted to mitigating the impacts of a single undertaking. Because of our lawsuit, the Metropolis of Fontana has adopted probably the most stringent environmental requirements in California for brand new warehouse tasks. This ordinance ought to function a mannequin for different native governments throughout the state to construct upon. We should be sure that future improvement doesn’t repeat previous errors.”
“For over a decade, Sierra Membership volunteers have been difficult warehouse developments all through San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, leading to mitigations and neighborhood advantages, together with 3 earlier lawsuits in Fontana,” stated Mary Ann Ruiz, Chair of the Sierra Membership San Gorgonio Chapter. “The distinction this time was the voice of the neighborhood, led by Liz Sena and South Fontana Involved Residents Coalition, gaining the eye of Lawyer Common Bonta. We respect the partnership and management of the AG’s workplace in reaching this settlement to enhance the undertaking and set an ordinary for all future tasks in Fontana.”
“For years, Fontana residents have voiced their issues relating to the rise of air air pollution related to the rise of warehouse improvement however have been disregarded,” stated Liz Sena, South Fontana resident and founding father of the South Fontana Involved Residents Coalition. “And because of this, The South Fontana Involved Residents Coalition acknowledges Lawyer Common Bonta’s management and partnership in submitting a lawsuit towards the Metropolis of Fontana. The settlement is the primary of its form, and can assist shield us by minimizing the affect of future warehouses surrounding our neighborhood, the place our households stay, be taught, and work.”
Over the previous 5 years, Fontana has authorized a number of dozen warehouses totaling roughly 16 million sq. ft in southern Fontana alone. The Slover and Oleander warehouse undertaking is a 205,000 square-foot undertaking that shares a border with a public highschool and is positioned in a low-income neighborhood that suffers from a few of the highest air pollution ranges in all of California. On July 23, 2021, Lawyer Common Bonta filed a lawsuit against the City of Fontana difficult its approval of this undertaking. Within the lawsuit, Lawyer Common Bonta argued that the Metropolis’s restricted environmental overview of the undertaking and its failure to appropriately analyze, disclose, and mitigate the undertaking’s environmental impacts violated CEQA. The Sierra Membership individually filed a lawsuit, and in the present day’s settlement resolves each circumstances.
At present’s settlement required the Metropolis of Fontana to undertake probably the most stringent warehouse ordinance within the state with dozens of recent necessities for warehouse tasks in its jurisdiction. These embrace web site designs to maintain vehicles away from delicate websites comparable to faculties, hospitals, and day cares, promotion of zero-emission autos for on-site operations, landscaped buffers, set up of photo voltaic panels to fulfill 100% of vitality wants for bigger warehouse tasks, and use of environmentally pleasant constructing supplies. The ordinance additionally contains plenty of provisions to spice up financial improvement and shield the well being and security of development laborers, warehouse employees, and truckers.
The settlement additionally requires the developer, Duke Realty, to implement new measures to mitigate the Slover and Oleander warehouse undertaking’s environmental impacts on the encircling neighborhood. Mitigation measures embrace design modifications and different protections for close by residents, lowered emissions from gear used throughout development and operation, solar energy, and extra. Duke Realty may even set up a $210,000 neighborhood profit fund that will likely be used to reinforce landscaping buffers at Jurupa Hills Excessive College, which shares a border with the undertaking, and to buy and distribute a five-year provide of top quality air filters to as much as 1,750 households within the surrounding neighborhood.
Lastly, the South Coast Air High quality Administration District (SCAQMD) has introduced a process to revise its CEQA guidance for analyzing cumulative air high quality impacts. The Lawyer Common’s lawsuit challenged the Metropolis of Fontana’s reliance on SCAQMD’s current steering in its approval of the Slover and Oleander warehouse undertaking. SCAQMD workers have proposed a groundbreaking method for brand new steering that will think about current burdens related to close by air pollution sources and, the place warranted, quantify for the primary time cumulative air high quality impacts and the results on human well being. Not solely would this method handle flaws in its present steering, it will additionally think about the impacts of concentrating polluting land makes use of, like warehouse tasks, in deprived areas, thereby encouraging native governments to web site future tasks in areas the place they are going to have the least affect on human well being.
Lawyer Common Bonta is dedicated to combating environmental injustices all through the state of California and being a voice for frontline communities who’re all too typically under-resourced and overburdened. On April 28, 2021, Lawyer Common Bonta announced the expansion of the California Division of Justice’s Bureau of Environmental Justice. In simply over 4 years, the Bureau of Environmental Justice has reviewed a whole bunch of warehouse tasks throughout the state and collected finest practices and mitigation measures to help native governments in complying with CEQA and to advertise environmentally-just warehouse improvement throughout California. These finest practices can be found here. Extra info on the Bureau and its work is accessible here.