Superior Court Grants Attorney General Leave to Appear as Amicus Curiae in Support of Greenhouse Gas Analysis Prepared for Plan Bay Area

May 21st, 2014

By: Amy Higuera



On May 16, 2014, in Bay Area Citizens v. Assn. of Bay Area Governments, et al (Case No. RG13690631), the Alameda County Superior Court granted an Ex Parte Application filed by the Attorney General on behalf of the People of the State of California to file an amicus curiae brief.   In its amicus curiae brief, the Attorney General argues that the analysis of greenhouse gas impacts in the Plan Bay Area Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared by the Association of Bay Area Governments and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (the Agencies) complied with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Plan Bay Area is the regional transportation plan and sustainable communities strategy for the Bay Area prepared by the Agencies pursuant to SB 375. Bay Area Citizens, represented by Pacific Legal Foundation, filed a petition in August, 2013 challenging the Agencies’ certification of the Plan EIR.  According to Bay Area Citizens, the EIR violates CEQA’s information disclosure requirements because its analysis of greenhouse gas impacts failed to take into consideration emissions reductions expected to occur in the future due to implementation of laws and regulations limiting vehicle emissions.

In its amicus curiae brief, the Attorney General contends that the analysis of greenhouse gas emissions complies with CEQA because the methodologies employed were thorough and the assumptions relied on were made explicit, such that the public would not be misled as to the EIR’s conclusions. Because the Agencies’ provide a clear and thorough analytical route, the Attorney General argues that the EIR fulfills CEQA’s information disclosure goals with respect to greenhouse gas emissions.

In seeking to participate as amicus curiae, the Attorney General’s actions are consistent with the office’s long-standing interest in actively participating in raising the issues of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change in the CEQA context.