Sierra_ClubEarth_Justice sPlanBayAreaPleadings(8-19-13)2.htm 

Follow Marin Events

• HomeUpSierra_ClubEarth_Justice sPlanBayAreaPleadings(8-19-13)2.htmSierra_ClubEarth_Justice sPlanBayAreaPleadings(8-19-13)2.htm •
•  •

 

1          IRENE V. GUTIERREZ, State Bar No. 252927 WILLIAM ROSTOV, State Bar No. 184528

2          EARTHJUSTICE

50 California Street, Suite 500

3          San Francisco, CA 94111

T: (415) 217-2000

4 F: (415) 217-2040

 

5 Attorneys for Petitioners Sierra Club and Communities for a Better Environment

6

MAYA GOLDEN-KRASNER, State Bar No. 217557

7          SHANA LAZEROW, State Bar No. 195491 COMMUNITIES FOR A BETTER ENVIRONMENT

8          6325 Pacific Blvd., Suite 300 Huntington Park, CA 90255

9 T: (323) 626-9771

F: (323) 588-7079

10

Attorneys for Petitioner Communities for a Better Environment

11

 

12

 

13 IN THE SUPERIOR COURT FOR THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FOR THE COUNTY OF ALAMEDA

14


 

15          COMMUNITIES FOR A BETTER ENVIRONMENT and THE SIERRA CLUB,

16          non-profit corporations,

 

17                                                          Petitioners,

 

18                                  vs.

 

19          METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION, ASSOCIATION OF BAY

20          AREA GOVERNMENTS,

and DOES 1 through 50, inclusive,

21

Respondents.

22


) Case No.:

)

)

) VERIFIED PETITION FOR

) WRIT OF MANDATE

)

)

) (California Code of Civil Procedure 1085 and

) 1094.5; California Public Resources Code

) 21167, 21168, and 21168.5)

)

)

)

)

)


)

23

 

24

 

25

 

26

 

27

 

28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 1


1                                                                                                                                            INTRODUCTION

 

2                          1. The Bay Area is experiencing a period of significant growth, and is expected to draw

 

3          an additional 2 million people into the area over the next thirty years.

 

4                          2. This projected growth will have myriad effects on the region from increasing the

 

5  need for transportation and housing services, to increasing the size of other economic sectors, like

 

6  the goods movement‖ sector, which is responsible for shuttling consumer goods around the state

 

7          and nation through transportation hubs, such as airports, seaports, highways and railways. Growth in

 

8  goods movementor freight transporthas the potential to increase diesel emissions and other air

 

9  pollution from ships, trucks, and trains using these transportation hubs. Though they will affect the

 

10          entire region, the health impacts resulting from these emissions will particularly harm those who live

 

11          in communities closest to transportation hubs and corridors, the majority of whom are low-income

 

12          and people of color.

 

13                                  3. Regional growth also has the potential to change the character of historic ethnic

 

14          neighborhoods, such as West Oakland, the Chinatown neighborhoods in San Francisco and Oakland,

 

15          and San Franciscos Mission District, displacing low-income and minority residents, as an influx of

 

16          white-collar workers drives increasing prices in housing markets. Regional growth has the potential

 

17          to spur climate change, if the population continues to rely on greenhouse gas emitting cars and

 

18          trucks for its transportation needs. The Bay Area is uniquely vulnerable to the accelerating pace of

 

19          climate change, as many of its cities, towns, and transit routes are located in coastal areas vulnerable

 

20          to sea-level rise.

 

21                                  4. Respondents the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the

 

22          Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG‖) serve as the Bay Areas regional transportation

 

23          and land use planning agencies. These agencies are required to create a regional plan (Plan Bay

 

24          Area or Plan) that serves the populations land use and transportation planning needs,

 

25          accommodates goods-movement, integrates transportation systems for people and freight, and moves

 

26          the region towards air pollution and greenhouse gas reductions goals. Failure to plan responsibly for

 

27          the future and establish a solid foundation to facilitate these goals has the potential to cause serious,

 

28          irreparable harm.

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 2


1                                  5. MTC and ABAG adopted Plan Bay Area on July 19, 2013. They certified the

 

2          environmental impact report (EIR‖) for the Plan on the same day.

 

3                          6. In certifying the EIR, MTC and ABAG concluded that implementation of the Plan

 

4          would not have significant environmental effects in many areas, and that the significant effects of the

 

5          Plan could be mitigated.

 

6                          7. The EIR highlights a number of flaws in the Plan. The Plan does not do enough to

 

7          reduce reliance on cars and trucks. Instead, it expands highways, and does not ensure enough

 

8          funding for much needed transportation reforms. Due to its failure to implement sufficient

 

9          transportation reforms, the Plan also fails to position the region to meet key greenhouse gas

 

10          reductions goals. Further, the Plan fails to protect the health of vulnerable communities located near

 

11          transportation corridors, which will see an increase in the volume of goods movement. Finally, the

 

12          Plan does not ensure access to affordable housing, and creates the risk that low-income residents will

 

13          be displaced to areas with poor access to public transit.

 

14                                  8. The EIR itself violates the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The

 

15          EIR for Plan Bay Area should accurately account for the environmental effects of the Plan, and fails

 

16          to do so. The EIR masks the fact that the Plan does little to reform the transportation system and

 

17          consequently fails to make necessary greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2040. Furthermore,

 

18          the EIR fails to analyze the effects of freight transport in the region, and the effects of measures

 

19          taken under the Plan to accommodate projected growth in freight movement in the region. The

 

20          EIRs project description omits any mention of goods movement, and as a result, fails to analyze the

 

21          full scope of the project. Moreover, the EIR fails to adequately analyze the Plans contributions to

 

22          displacement and the environmental effects of displacement.

 

23                                  9. Petitioners Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) and the Sierra Club

 

24          (Petitioners) file this action to set aside certification of the EIR, produce a new EIR that fully

 

25          informs the public and decision makers about the true scope and environmental effects of the Plan,

 

26          and vacate a Plan that fails to implement robust transportation reforms, protect the health of

 

27          vulnerable communities, and guard against displacement. 28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 3


1                                                                                                                      JURISDICTION AND VENUE

 

2                                  10. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure

 

3          sections 1085 and 1094.5 and Public Resources Code sections 21167-21168.7.

 

4                                  11. Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure sections 393 and

 

5          394 because the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Association of Bay Area

 

6          Governments are public agencies based in Alameda County.

 

7                                  12. Pursuant to Public Resources Code section 21167.5, Petitioners have provided written

 

8          notice of their intention to file this petition to the public agencies and are including the notice and

 

9          proof of service as Exhibit A to this petition.

 

10                                  13. Pursuant to Public Resources Code section 21167.7 and Code of Civil Procedure

 

11          section 388, Petitioners have served the Attorney General with a copy of this petition, along with a

 

12          notice of its filing, and are including the notice and proof of service as Exhibit B to this petition.

 

13                                  14. Consistent with Public Resources Code section 21167(b) and (c), Petitioners have

 

14          timely filed this action.

 

15                                  15. Petitioners participated in the administrative processes that culminated in the

 

16          agencies decision to approve and certify the EIR for the Project through written and oral comments.

 

17          CBE commented on its own behalf, and also as a member of the 6 Wins Network, and raised

 

18          concerns regarding the transportation reforms undertaken by the Plan, the Plans effects on

 

19          displacement, the need to consider alternatives such as the Environment, Equity and Jobs‖

 

20          alternative, and the inadequate analysis of greenhouse gas emissions and goods movement. The

 

21          Sierra Club commented on its own behalf and raised concerns regarding the transportation reforms

 

22          undertaken by the Plan particularly the Plans investment in highway expansion projects, the

 

23          feasibility of the Plans use of priority development areas, the importance of funding priority

 

24          conservation areas, and the need to consider alternatives.

 

25                                  16. Petitioners have exhausted all of their administrative remedies prior to filing this

 

26          action.

 

27

 

28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 4


1                                  17. Petitioners do not have a plain, speedy, or adequate remedy at law because Petitioners

 

2          and their members will be irreparably harmed by the ensuing environmental damage caused by

 

3          implementation of the Project and the agencies violations of CEQA.

 

4                                                                                                                                                           PARTIES

 

5                                  18. Petitioner COMMUNITIES FOR A BETTER ENVIRONMENT (CBE) is a

 

6          California non-profit environmental health and justice organization with offices in Oakland and

 

7  Huntington Park. CBE is primarily concerned with protecting and enhancing the environment and

 

8          public health by reducing air and water pollution and toxics, and equipping residents of Californias

 

9  urban areas who are impacted by industrial pollution with the tools to monitor and transform their

 

10          immediate environment. CBE has been an active participant of the administrative proceedings

 

11          leading to the certification of the EIR. It has submitted comment letters in its name, and is also a

 

12          member of the 6 Wins for Social Equity Network, a coalition of social justice, faith, public health

 

13          and environmental organizations, which advocated for the inclusion of measures in the Plan Bay

 

14          Area to promote healthy and safe communities, develop robust and affordable public transportation

 

15          services, preserve affordable housing, combat economic displacement and empower local

 

16          communities.

 

17                                  19. CBE has thousands of members in California. Many of CBEs members live, work,

 

18          and recreate in the nine counties that comprise the greater San Francisco Bay Area. CBEs members

 

19          in Oaklands Coliseum Area, adjacent to the I-880 freeway, are particularly interested in the

 

20          environmental design of the freight transport system, as well as the community impacts of land use

 

21          planning. CBE members rely on the public transportation and highway infrastructure that serves the

 

22          Bay Area, and are affected by the air quality and environment of the area. They have an interest in

 

23          their health and wellbeing, and have conservation, aesthetic, and economic interests in the Bay Area

 

24          environment. CBEs members living and working in the Bay Area have a right to, and a beneficial

 

25          interest in, ABAG and MTC performing their duties under CEQA. These interests have been, and

 

26          continue to be, threatened by the agencies decision to certify the EIR and proceed with the

 

27          implementation of Plan Bay Area. 28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 5


1                           20. By this action, CBE seeks to protect the health, welfare, and economic interests of its

 

2  members and the general public and to enforce a public duty owed to them by ABAG and MTC.

 

3                          21. Petitioner the SIERRA CLUB (Sierra Club‖) is a national nonprofit organization of

 

4          approximately 600,000 members. The Sierra Club is dedicated to exploring, enjoying, and

 

5  protecting the wild places of the earth; practicing and promoting the responsible use of the earths

 

6  ecosystems and resources; educating and encouraging humanity to protect and restore the quality of

 

7          the natural and human environment; and to using all lawful means to carry out these objectives. The

 

8  Clubs particular interest in this case and the issues which the case concerns stem from the Clubs

 

9  interest in promoting an energy efficient transportation policy, that reduces reliance on fossil fuels;

 

10          and protecting the health of vulnerable communities. It has chapters throughout the San Francisco

 

11          Bay Area, including its San Francisco Bay, Redwood and Loma Prieta chapters. These chapters

 

12          have been active participants in the administrative proceedings leading to the certification of Plan

 

13          Bay Area, and have submitted comments in their name and have engaged with the agencies and

 

14          other stakeholders in the planning process.

 

15                                  22. Sierra Club has over 52,000 members in the Bay Area. These members live, work,

 

16          and recreate in the nine counties that comprise the greater San Francisco Bay Area. They rely on the

 

17          public transportation and highway infrastructure that serves the area, and are affected by the air

 

18          quality and environment of the area. They have an interest in their health and well-being, and have

 

19          conservation, aesthetic, and economic interests in the Bay Area environment. Sierra Clubs

 

20          members living and working in the Bay Area have a right to, and a beneficial interest in, ABAG and

 

21          MTC performing its duties under CEQA. These interests have been, and continue to be, threatened

 

22          by the agencies decision to certify the EIR and proceed with the implementation of Plan Bay Area.

 

23                                  23. By this action, Sierra Club seeks to protect the health, welfare, and economic interests

 

24          of its members and the general public and to enforce a public duty owed to them by ABAG and

 

25          MTC.

 

26                                  24. Respondent METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION (MTC) is

 

27          the transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency for the nine-county San Francisco

 

28          Bay Area. It served as the regional transportation planning agency (RTPA) under state law, and

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 6


1          the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) under federal law for the Plan Bay Area. It

 

2  conducted the environmental review of the Project and certified the Environmental Impact Report.

 

3          MTC acted as the co-lead agency for the purposes of CEQA.

 

4                          25. Respondent ASSOCIATION OF BAY AREA GOVERNMENTS (ABAG) is the

 

5  comprehensive regional planning agency and Council of Governments for the nine counties and the

 

6          101 cities and towns of the San Francisco Bay Area. It conducted the regional population and

 

7          employment projects and regional housing needs allocations for the Plan Bay Area. It conducted the

 

8          environmental review of the Project and certified the Environmental Impact Report. ABAG acted as

 

9          the co-lead agency for the purposes of CEQA.

 

10                                  26. The true names and capacities, whether individual, corporate, or otherwise, of DOES

 

11          1 through 50 are unknown to Petitioners. Petitioners will amend this Verified Petition for Writ of

 

12          Mandate to set forth the true names and capacities of the Doe parties when they have been

 

13          ascertained. Petitioners allege that each of the Doe parties 1 through 25 has jurisdiction by law over

 

14          one or more aspects of the project and its approval, and that each of the Doe parties 26 through 50

 

15          claims an ownership interest in the Project or the property that is the subject of this action or an

 

16          interest in the actions of the Respondents challenged herein.

 

17                                                                                                                                               BACKGROUND

 

18          I. The Community and Environmental Setting.

 

19                                  27. The greater Bay Area is comprised of nine counties Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin,

 

20          Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma County. The region is home to a

 

21          racially and economically diverse population of approximately 7 million individuals. The

 

22          population is distributed through major cities such as San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, as well

 

23          as through a wide range of suburban and rural communities, in counties like Contra Costa, Sonoma

 

24          and Napa. Many of the cities and towns in the region have historically ethnic neighborhoods, such

 

25          as West Oakland, San Francisco and Oakland Chinatown, and the Mission district.

 

26                                  28. Over the coming years, the region is expected to experience economic growth and

 

27          expansion, which is projected to result in the growth of freight movement throughout the region, and

 

28          to attract new people to the region resulting in over 9 million residents by 2040.

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 7


1                                  29. The area is served by various forms of public transportation, including: rail

 

2  properties such as Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and CalTrain, bus properties such as the

 

3  Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit‖), SamTrans and MUNI, and various ferry

 

4  lines. Still, residents remain heavily reliant on cars and light trucks for transportation to work.

 

5                          30. This reliance on cars and trucks as a mode of daily transportation has significant

 

6          environmental impacts on the region. Ordinary combustion engines emit greenhouse gases such

 

7  as carbon dioxide, which contribute to global warming, and air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides

 

8          and volatile organic compounds, all of which have been shown to contribute to serious health effects

 

9  such as respiratory ailments and cardiovascular disease. Cars and light trucks remain the single

 

10          largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the State of California, and in the Bay Area, these

 

11          sources are responsible for nearly 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

 

12                                  31. Over the past 30 years, there has been an increase in the number of vehicle miles

 

13          travelled (VMTs), and associated greenhouse gas emissions. The Plan does nothing to alter that

 

14          trajectory, and continues to increase the amount of VMTs. The agencies failure to shift

 

15          transportation patterns in the Plan is a continuation of their long-standing pattern and practice

 

16          public transportation ridership has remained relatively flat over the past 20 years, despite regional

 

17          population increases.

 

18                                  32. The Bay Area region houses a number of key transportation hubs, through which

 

19          large volumes of people and consumer goods transit on a daily basis. It has three major airports

 

20          San Francisco International Airport, San Jose International Airport, and Oakland International

 

21          Airport. It has several major ports, including the Port of Oakland, the fifth-largest port in the United

 

22          States. The highways that serve the area have high volumes of truck traffic carrying consumer

 

23          goods I-880/80 carries the highest volume of truck traffic in the region, and I-580 has the second

 

24          highest volume of truck traffic in the entire nation. A number of freight railway lines also transit

 

25          through the region.

 

26                                  33. The movement of consumer goods through the region represents a substantial

 

27          component of the local economy, and is expected to grow significantly in the near future. According

 

28          to a 2009 goods movement study conducted by MTC, ―manufacturing, freight transportation and

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 8


1  wholesale trade constitute nearly 40% of regional output. The same study found that Bay Area

 

2          businesses spend over $6.6 billion on transportation services, and goods movement businesses create

 

3          over 10 percent of regional employment.

 

4                                  34. The overall movement of goods nationwide and in the region is expected to increase.

 

5          The 2009 MTC study forecast an increase in goods movement through airports, seaports and

 

6          railways of 109% between 2006 and 2009. The Federal Highway Administration projects a

 

7  nationwide increase of 80% in freight tonnage hauled by trucks and a 73% increase in rail tonnage;

 

8  air cargo tonnage is expected to quadruple. Activity in California ports is expected to increase by

 

9          250% between the present and 2020. Due to shifting land use patterns, trucks transiting through the

 

10          Bay Area are expected to increase the distances travelled to deliver their cargoes. The need for

 

11          industrial lands is also expected to increase, as more manufacturing and warehouse space will be

 

12          needed, to accommodate expected increases in goods movement through airports, highways,

 

13          seaports and rail.

 

14                                  35. The movement of freight has serious environmental and public health implications.

 

15          A significant portion of the greenhouse gas emissions from transportation is due to the movement of

 

16          freight and goods through California. One quarter of the Bay Areas particulate matter (PM) 2.5

 

17          emissions are generated in Alameda County, which hosts Interstate 880 and 80, routes heavily

 

18          trafficked by the trucks transporting goods from the Port of Oakland. The emissions from freight

 

19          vehicles like trucks and ships cause a number of adverse health effects, from increased respiratory

 

20          and cardiovascular ailments, to premature death. There will be a corresponding increase in these

 

21          emissions loads, as the volume of goods movement increases through the region.

 

22                                  36. Goods movement also heavily impacts low-income and minority communities. The

 

23          infrastructure that facilitates the movement of goods the airports and seaports, and the highways

 

24          and railways that connect those facilities to other parts of the state is by and large situated in low-

 

25          income and minority communities. These communities are burdened by adverse health effects from

 

26          these transportation hubs. The projected health outcomes for residents of neighborhoods like West

 

27          and East Oakland are drastically different from the outcomes for residents of wealthier hillside

 

28          neighborhoods located further from transportation infrastructure. For example, an African American

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 9


1          born in West Oakland is likely to die almost 15 years earlier than a white person born in the Oakland

 

2  Hills, and is five times more likely to be hospitalized for diabetes, twice as likely to be affected by

 

3          heart disease, and twice as likely to die of cancer.

 

4          II. Statutory Framework Underlying Regional Transportation Plan

 

5                                  37. Pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 134, et seq., metropolitan planning organizations must

 

6          develop a long-term regional transportation plan (RTP‖) every four years. MTC is the agency

 

7          responsible for preparing the RTP for the San Francisco Bay Area region. The last RTP for the Bay

 

8          Area was adopted in 2009.

 

9                          38. The policy underlying the RTP is to encourage and promote the safe and efficient

 

10          management, operation, and development of surface transportation systems that will serve the

 

11          mobility needs of people and freight and foster economic growth and development of surface

 

12          transportation systems that will serve the mobility needs of people and freight and foster economic

 

13          growth and development within and between States and urbanized areas, while minimizing

 

14          transportation-related fuel consumption and air pollution through metropolitan and statewide

 

15          transportation planning processes.23 U.S.C. 134(a)(1).

 

16                                  39. The planning process shall include consideration of projects and strategies that will

 

17          increase the accessibility and mobility of people and for freight,‖ and enhance the integration and

 

18          connectivity of the transportation system, across and between modes, for people and freight.‖ 23 19 U.S.C. 134(h)(1)(D), (F).

20                                  40. Federal regulations require an integrated plan which accounts for the transportation of

 

21          people and goods. They require RTPs to ―include both long-range and short-range strategies/actions

 

22          that lead to the development of an integrated multimodal transportation system to facilitate the safe

 

23          and efficient movement of people and goods in addressing current and future transportation 24 demand.‖ 23 C.F.R. 450.322(b).

25                                  41. The planning process shall further include projects and strategies that protect and

 

26          enhance the environment, promote energy conservation, improve the quality of life, and promote

 

27          consistency between transportation improvements and State and local planned growth and economic

 

28          development patterns.23 U.S.C. 134(h)(1)(E).

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 10


1                          42. California Government Code 65080 et. seq. provides the statutory framework

 

2  under California law for regional transportation plans. The statute directs transportation planning

 

3  agencies to prepare and adopt a plan directed at achieving a coordinated and balanced regional

 

4          transportation system, including, but not limited to mass transportation, highway, railroad, maritime,

 

5          bicycle, pedestrian, goods movement, and aviation facilities and services.‖ California Government 6 Code 65080(a).

7                                  43. The California Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008,

 

8  California Senate Bill 375 (SB 375‖), added language to the statute, which also required RTPs to

 

9          contain a sustainable communities strategy.‖ A sustainable communities strategy (SCS)

 

10          consists of an integrated land use and transportation plan, which among other things, must enable the

 

11          region to meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets set by the ARB. California

 

12          Government Code 65080(b)(2)(B).

 

13                                  44. SB 375 is designed to reduce GHG emissions from cars and light trucks. The

 

14          legislative history of the statute emphasizes that reductions should be achieved through reducing

 

15          reliance on automobiles and trucks, and not through consideration of other GHG reduction

 

16          programs: [T]his bill provides a mechanism for reducing greenhouse gases from the single largest

 

17          sector of emissions, cars and light trucks[a]lthough greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by

 

18          producing more fuel efficient cars and using low carbon fuel, reductions in vehicles miles travelled

 

19          will also be necessary.‖ Senate Rules Committee, Bill Analysis SB 375 (August 30, 2008).

 

20          III. Key Features of Plan Bay Area

 

21                                  45. MTC and ABAG jointly led the development of Plan Bay Area, in collaboration with

 

22          two other regional agencies, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and the

 

23          Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC‖).

 

24                                  46. The Plan is described as follows in the accompanying environmental impact report,

 

25          [t]he proposed Plan Bay Area serves as the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) for the San

 

26          Francisco Bay Area region as well as the regions Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) as 27

28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 11


1  required under SB 375. Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) at 1.2-1.1 The proposed

 

2          Plan represents a transportation and land use blueprint of how the Bay Area addresses its

 

3  transportation mobility and accessibility needs, land development, and greenhouse gas emissions

 

4  reduction requirements through the year 2040.‖ Id. It is the first Bay Area RTP to incorporate an

 

5          SCS.

 

6                          47. As stated in the EIR, [t]he Plan aims to achieve focused growth by building off of

 

7  locally-identified Priority Development Areas and by emphasizing strategic investments in the

 

8  regions transportation network (including a strong emphasis on operating and maintaining the

 

9          existing system).‖ DEIR at 1.2-20.

 

10                                  48. The Plan seeks to concentrate housing and job growth in areas known as Priority

 

11          Development Areas,‖ which are existing neighborhoods, nominated by local jurisdictions, with

 

12          access to transit and a pedestrian-friendly environment. This strategy is intended to enhance[ ]

 

13          mobility and economic growth by linking housing and jobs with transit to create a more efficient

 

14          land use pattern around transit and help achieve a greater return on existing and planned transit

 

15          investments.‖ DEIR at 1.2-24-25.

 

16                                  49. The transportation investment strategy of the Plan is intended to ―support the

 

17          proposed Plans goals by reducing automobile dependency and promoting healthier communities

 

18          through reduced pollution and cleaner air.‖ DEIR at 1.2-37. Among the investments proposed by

 

19          the Plan are regional transit system improvements (including BART and Caltrain extensions), local

 

20          transit improvements, road pricing improvements, highway system improvements (including the

 

21          widening of particular highways, and the creation of new interchanges).

 

22                                  50. Only a small percentage of the funding of the Plan is directed to innovations in the

 

23          transportation infrastructure. MTC estimates that approximately $292 billion in revenue will be

 

24          available through the year 2040. The majority of these funds are already dedicated to particular uses,

 

25          1 The Draft Environmental Impact Report was released for public comment on April 2, 2013, and contains the project description and overview of Plan Bay Area, as well as the substantive analysis

26          of the environmental impacts of the Plan. The Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) was

released in July 2013 and contains revisions to the DEIR, as well as the public comments and

27          responses to public comments. Since the bulk of the analysis of environmental impacts is contained

in the DEIR, this Petition will refer to the DEIR, unless otherwise noted. 28

 

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 12


1  primarily in transportation operations and maintenance. Only $21 billion, or 7% of total funds, will

 

2          be used for transportation expansion.

 

3                                  51. The Plan continues to expand highways, and agency projections show that daily

 

4  vehicle trips and miles travelled will increase under the Plan. The Plan includes some 194 projects

 

5          that increase freeway lane-miles, at a cost of approximately $5.4 billion. Among the roadway

 

6          capacity increases proposed under the Plan is the Regional Express Lanes Network,‖ which builds

 

7  new high-occupancy/toll (HOT) lanes on many of the regions most congested freeway corridors.

 

8          DEIR at 2.1-25. Highway widening projects are responsible for the remainder of the freeway

 

9          capacity increases. Under the Plan, daily vehicle trips are expected to increase by 22%. Daily

 

10          vehicle miles travelled are expected to increase by 20%.

 

11                                  52. The EIR shows that under the Plan, through 2040, there will be an increase in

 

12          5,571,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. This represents a

 

13          21% increase from present conditions. Yet the EIR improperly asserts that there will be a decrease

 

14          in emissions from passenger vehicles over time. It does so by crediting emissions reductions from

 

15          separate state emissions reduction programs. The EIR factors in emissions reductions from

 

16          Assembly Bill 1493 (Pavley‖) clean car standards, which set progressive greenhouse gas emissions

 

17          caps for passenger vehicles and light trucks. The EIR also factors in emissions from Executive

 

18          Order S-01-07, which established a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) which set goals to reduce the

 

19          carbon intensity of transportation fuels.

 

20                                  53. The EIR also shows that under the Plan, through 2040, there will be an increase in

 

21          6,769,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from various land uses (i.e., residential use, and

 

22          commercial, office and industrial uses). This represents a 28% increase from present conditions.

 

23          Only by applying emissions reductions from the Air Resources Board (ARB) Climate Change

 

24          Scoping Plan (Scoping Plan) implementing the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB

 

25          32), are the agencies able to account for reductions as claimed in the EIR. The ARB Scoping Plan

 

26          measures included in the DEIRs calculations are: energy efficiency programs (utility energy

 

27          efficiency programs, building and appliance standards, efficiency and conservation programs), heat 28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 13


1          and combined power use programs, renewables portfolio standards, solar roof programs, solar water

 

2          heating and landfill methane control.

 

3                          54. The same programs (Pavley, LCFS, and AB 32 Scoping Measures) are taken into

 

4  consideration when analyzing whether the Plan meets the goals of Executive Order S-3-05 (June 1,

 

5  2005) and Executive Order B-16-2012 (March 23, 2012). Executive Order S-3-05 recognized the

 

6          need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to combat the effects of climate change, and set the

 

7  following targets for emissions reductions: by 2010, reduce GHG emissions to 2000 levels; by

 

8  2020, reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels; by 2050 to 80 percent below 1990 levels.‖ Executive

 

9  Order B-16-2012 recognized the importance of encouraging the development and adoption of zero

 

10          emissions vehicles, and sets a California target for 2050 a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

 

11          from the transportation sector equaling 80 percent less than 1990 levels.‖ Without reductions from

 

12          Pavley, LCFS and AB 32, land use and transportation emissions in the region are expected to

 

13          increase, and the Plan does not meet the targets set forth in these executive orders. Furthermore,

 

14          even with these reductions being taken into account, the Plan will fail to adequately contribute to

 

15          meeting the executive order targets.

 

16                                  55. The Plan situates key developments in areas that are subject to sea level rise.

 

17          According to the EIR, transportation investments, land use developments and residential areas will

 

18          be subject to sea level rise. The Plan proposes some mitigation measures to address sea level rise,

 

19          but states that ultimate responsibility for implementing these mitigations rests upon other local

 

20          agencies.

 

21                                  56. Significant concerns remain about the viability of the PDAs proposed by the Plan.

 

22          The Plan does little to guarantee that transportation services and improvements to serve the PDAs

 

23          will be adopted, or will be able to continue where they currently exist. For example, some areas

 

24          designated as PDAs, such as Treasure Island, the Alameda Naval/Air Station, Vallejo and Benicia,

 

25          do not currently have access to varied and robust forms of public transit, and transit capacity will

 

26          need to be increased in order to serve these areas. Several PDAs are located in coast-adjacent areas

 

27          that are vulnerable to sea-level rise, as well as from earthquake hazards. Additionally, several PDAs

 

28          are located adjacent to important natural resources, and raise concerns that they will affect the health

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 14


1  of those resources. For example, the Newark/Dumbarton PDA is located in the planned expansion

 

2  area for the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge. Still other PDAs raise concerns about the

 

3  feasibility of implementing the housing strategy proposed by the Plan for example, the PDA in

 

4  Brisbane is currently only zoned for new industrial development, and the addition of new housing

 

5          will require a popular vote, raising significant concerns about the implementation of the PDA.

 

6                                  57. The Plan also creates the risk of displacement of low-income communities.

 

7  According to the Equity Analysis conducted by MTC and ABAG, the Plan would increase the risk

 

8  of displacement to overburdened renters by 36%. A number of the areas identified for development

 

9   as PDAs such as Chinatown, Bayview/Hunters Point, the Mission District, and areas identified for

 

10          development in Richmond and along major corridors in East Oakland have historically housed

 

11          renters, and have been home to long-standing, low-income communities of color. The Plan does not

 

12          ensure that affordable housing will remain accessible to these communities, thereby creating the risk

 

13          that members of these communities will be displaced to suburban areas which are further from

 

14          robust public transportation systems. When they do not have ready access to transit, the low-income

 

15          members of these communities tend to depend on older vehicles, with greater levels of emissions,

 

16          for their daily transportation needs. This movement will necessarily have environmental impacts.

 

17                                  58. There is very little consideration of goods movement in the Plan or EIR, despite

 

18          MTCs 2004 and 2009 studies providing extensive information about projected increases in goods

 

19          movement through the region, the negative health effects of goods movement, and the need for

 

20          mitigations for the effects of goods movement. This is in marked contrast to the regional plan

 

21          created by the Southern California Association of Governments, which includes a detailed

 

22          description of goods movement in the project description, a detailed analysis of goods movement

 

23          through the region, and proposes a variety of mitigation measures to address the environmental and

 

24          health effects of goods movement.

 

25                                  59. The alternative proposals considered by the agencies perform better than the Plan in a

 

26          variety of ways. For example, the EIR identifies Alternative 5, the Environment, Equity and Jobs

 

27          alternative as the environmentally superior alternative due in large part to its ―overall GHG

 

28          emissions reductions and estimated reduction in criteria and TAC [toxic air contaminants] emissions.

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 15


1          . . .‖ DEIR at ES-11, 3.1-148. Alternative 3, the ―Transit Priority Focus‖ Alternative, and

 

2          Alternative 5, both have lower levels of vehicle miles travelled than the Proposed Plan. Alternative

 

3          5 has the lowest amount of vehicle miles travelled, at 2 percent lower than the proposed Plan.

 

4          Alternative 5 also has the greatest transportation ridership than any other plan, 6 percent more than

 

5          the proposed Plan. Alternative 5 is also expected to reduce more transportation and land use

 

6          greenhouse gases than the proposed Plan under Alternative 5, GHG emissions are expected to

 

7          decline by 14 percent between 2010 and 2040, which is a two percent greater decline than the

 

8          proposed Plan.

 

9                                  60. Adopting the Environment, Equity and Jobs‖ alternative would dramatically increase

 

10          transit service levels, and will result in a number of tangible benefits, including: 83,500 fewer cars

 

11          on the road; 3.5 million fewer miles of auto travel per day; 165,000 more people riding public transit

 

12          per day; and 1,900 fewer tons of carbon dioxide emissions per day and 568,000 fewer tons of

 

13          greenhouse gas emissions per year.2

 

14          IV. Public Process Leading to Approval of Plan Bay Area

 

15                                  61. ABAG and MTC formally initiated the scoping process for Plan Bay Area on June

 

16          11, 2012, when the agencies sent a copy of the Notice of Preparation (NOP) to the State

 

17          Clearinghouse within the California Office of Planning and Research.

 

18                                  62. During the period leading up to the approval of Plan Bay Area and the certification of

 

19          its EIR, ABAG and MTC held a number of public workshops and public hearings.

 

20                                  63. The Draft EIR for Plan Bay Area was released on April 2, 2013. Despite receiving a

 

21          number of requests from organizations and individuals to extend the comment period, in order to

 

22          fully analyze the voluminous EIR, MTC and ABAG refused to extend the comment period beyond

 

23          the minimum 45-day period required by CEQA. 24

25

 

26

2 In fact, the actual improvements over the Plan will likely be greater, as these numbers are underestimates because this

27 alternative was modeled differently than the plan.

 

28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 16


1                          64. ABAG and MTC discussed the EIR during several public hearings. These hearings

 

2          culminated on July 18, 2013 in a joint ABAG/MTC hearing to approve the Final Plan and the Final

 

3          EIR.

 

4                                  65. Petitioner Communities for a Better Environment submitted written comments to the

 

5          EIR, and made comments during public hearings on the EIR. It made comments on its own behalf,

 

6          and also as part of the 6 Wins Network. Among the concerns raised in its comments were: the EIRs

 

7  analysis of greenhouse gas emissions, concerns about sea-level rise, the EIRs failure to analyze

 

8  goods movement issues, the EIRs failure to adequately analyze alternative proposals such as the

 

9          Environment, Equity and Jobs‖ alternative, the EIRs compliance with CEQA, transportation

 

10          funding under the Plan, and the Plans effects on displacement.

 

11                                  66. Petitioner Sierra Club submitted written comments to the EIR. Among the issues

 

12          raised in its comments were: concerns about the expansion of highway lanes, concerns about the

 

13          insufficient investment in public transportation, concerns about the viability of Priority Development

 

14          Areas, concerns about Priority Conservation Areas, and concerns about the EIRs failure to

 

15          adequately analyze alternative proposals, such as the Environment, Equity and Jobs‖ alternative.

 

16                                  67. During the written comment period and public hearings on the EIR, Caltrans and

 

17          various other organizations and individuals commented about the planning agencies obligation to

 

18          consider goods movement‖ issues as part of the Plan, as well as the public health and other

 

19          concerns associated with truck traffic and other modes of goods transportation.

 

20                                  68. Various groups, such as the Chinatown Community Development Center and Public

 

21          Advocates on behalf of a coalition of groups also commented on the risks of displacement created by

 

22          the Plan, as well as the environmental effects of such displacement.

 

23                                  69. During a Joint ABAG and MTC meeting on June 14, 2013, the issue of Goods

 

24          Movement and Industrial Lands was raised as an Additional Initiative and/or Priority for Plan

 

25          Bay Area Implementation.‖ According to the agencies, such implementation measures should be

 

26          added to the final Plan Bay Area as key areas for additional work by ABAG and MTC.‖

 

27          Specifically, with respect to goods movement and industrial lands issues, the agencies stated: ―[t]he

 

28          movement of freight and the protection of production and distribution facilities has important

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 17


1          environmental, economic and equity implications for the region. Building on MTCs Regional

 

2          Goods Movement Study and related land use analysis, MTC/ABAG will evaluate the needs related to

 

3  development, storage and movement of goods through our region and identify essential industrial

 

4          areas to support the regions economic vitality.

 

5                          70. During a June 20, 2013 ABAG Executive Committee Meeting, the committee voted

 

6  to include goods movement and industrial lands issues as a measure that would be part of the Plan

 

7          Bay Area.

 

8                                  71. The language added to the Plan acknowledges that the movement of freight, and the

 

9  protection of production and distribution businesses have important environmental, economic and

 

10          equity implications for the region.‖ Summary of Major Revisions and Corrections to the Draft Plan

 

11          Bay Area, pp. 28-29 (July 2013). Yet, the Plan appears to take few practical measures to deal with

 

12          the expected increases in goods movement and deal with the effects of these increases, other than to

 

13          state that the agencies will work with local businesses and jurisdictions, and other agencies, to

 

14          identify funding, update study information and develop best practices. Despite this inclusion of

 

15          goods movement language in the Plan, the EIR contains no discussion in its project description of

 

16          projected increases in the volume of goods movement through local transportation hubs, no

 

17          meaningful analysis of goods movement trends, and no analysis of how goods movement measures

 

18          might interact with other aspects of the Plan. Furthermore, despite having had the benefit of the

 

19          goods movement studies previously prepared by MTC, the EIR does not contain any of the findings

 

20          from those studies regarding goods movement trends, the environmental impacts of goods

 

21          movement, or mitigation measures that were explored in those studies.

 

22                                  72. The Final EIR was released in July 2013, prior to the final public hearing on the Plan

 

23          and EIR.

 

24                                  73. On Thursday, July 18, 2013, ABAG and MTC held a joint hearing to approve the

 

25          Final Plan and the Final EIR. The hearing was over seven hours long, and in the early hours of July

 

26          19, 2013, the agencies agreed to adopt the Plan and certify the EIR.

 

27                                  74. The Notice of Determination for Plan Bay Area was filed on Friday, July 19, 2013. 28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 18


1                                  75. The final revisions to the Plan were released in August 2013. There appear to be

 

2          discrepancies between some of the figures set forth in the Final EIR and the final revisions to the

 

3          Plan, which highlight how the agencies have rushed through the public process and towards approval

 

4          of the Plan.

 

5                                                                                                                          FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION

 

6                                                           Violation of CEQA Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et seq.

and the CEQA Guidelines, Cal. Code of Regs., Tit. 14, Sections 15000 et seq.

7

ABAG and MTC Failed to Provide Information upon Which Conclusions Are Based

8

76.              Petitioners re-allege, as if fully set forth herein, each and every allegation contained 9

in the preceding paragraphs. 10

77.              The policy underlying CEQA is to develop and maintain a high-quality environment 11

now and in the future, and take all action necessary to protect, rehabilitate, and enhance the 12

environmental quality of the state.‖ (Cal. Pub. Res. 21001(a).) Under CEQA, an EIR must 13

inform governmental decision-makers and the public about the potential, significant environmental 14

effects of proposed activities,‖ and to ―identify ways that environmental damage can be avoided or 15

significantly reduced.(Cal. Code Regs. tit. 14, 15002.) 16

78.              To fulfill these objectives, CEQA requires that an EIR provide an analytically 17

complete and coherent explanation‖ of its conclusions. (Vineyard Area Citizens for Responsible

18

Growth v. City of Rancho Cordova (2007) 40 Cal. 4th 412, 439-40.) The data in an EIR must not 19

only be sufficient in quantity, it must be presented in a manner calculated to adequately inform the 20

public and decision makers, who may not be previously familiar with the details of the project.(Id. 21

at 442.) Moreover, an EIR that purports to rely upon a future analysis or that does not properly 22

incorporate or reference a separately performed analysis does not adequately inform the public. (Id.

23

at 440-41, 443; see also Cal. Code Regs. tit. 14, 15151 (providing that an EIR should containa 24

sufficient degree of analysis to provide decision-makers with information which enables them to 25

make a decision which intelligently takes account of environmental consequences); Laurel Heights

26

Improvement Assn v. Regents of the Univ. of Cal. (1988) 47 Cal. 3d 376, 404, internal citation 27

omitted (there must be disclosure of the analytic route the . . . agency traveled from evidence to 28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 19


1          action‖ .) Additionally, information scattered here and there in EIR appendices or a report buried in

 

2          an appendix is not a substitute for a good faith reasoned analysis.‖ (Vineyard, 40 Cal. 4th at 442.)

 

3                                  79. The EIR for the Project fails to properly inform the public and decision makers of the

 

4          basis for its conclusions. These failures include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

5                                                          a) A failure to provide adequate information regarding funding and

 

6                                                                                  implementation for the transportation reforms that are proposed under the

 

7                                                                                  Plan, including transportation reforms intended to serve the Priority

 

8                                                                                  Development Areas.

 

9                                                          b) A failure to provide information regarding the feasibility of, and

 

10                                                                                  implementation of, mitigation measures to combat the effects of development

 

11                                                                                  in areas subject to sea-level rise.

 

12                                                          c) A failure to properly analyze the environmental impacts of the miles of new

 

13                                                                                  freeway lanes added in the Plan.

 

14                                                          d) A failure to analyze the environmental effects of goods movement measures

 

15                                                                                  and their integration into the RTP.

 

16                                                          e) A failure to include, consider and analyze the information on goods movement

 

17                                                                                  in MTCs 2004 and 2009 reports on goods movement.

 

18                                                          f) The EIR fails to present in an adequately informative manner the assumptions

 

19                                                                                  upon which its land use and emissions modeling is based. Instead of clearly

 

20                                                                                  and coherently explaining the assumptions contained in land use and

 

21                                                                                  emissions models such as EMFAC and UrbanSimwith respect to issues

 

22                                                                                  such as modeling for aspects of goods movementor modeling emissions

 

23                                                                                  reductions achieved from LCFS and Pavley, the EIR leaves the public

 

24                                                                                  scrambling between the DEIR, the FEIR and responses to comments, various

 

25                                                                                  appendices, and explanations separate and apart from the One Bay Area

 

26                                                                                  website to understand the basis for the modeling done to analyze the

 

27                                                                                  environmental impacts of the Plan. 28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 20


1                                                          g) The EIR contains misleading and unsupported conclusions that there will be

 

2                                                                                  no environmental significance from the Plans effects on greenhouse gas

 

3                                                                                  emissions in the transportation sector. When analyzing the Plans effects on

 

4                                                                          greenhouse gas emissions trajectories, the EIR looks at emissions from

 

5                                                                                  various vehicle classes (i.e., passenger vehicles, trucks, buses), and then

 

6                                                                                  subtracts emissions reductions that will be achieved from measures

 

7                                                                                  implemented separately from the Plan, such as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard

 

8                                                                          and Pavley Clean Car standards. It is only these reductions from other

 

9                                                                                  programs that result in a finding that transportation greenhouse gas emissions

 

10                                                                                  will decline by 2040. However, the EIR makes it appear that the reduction in

 

11                                                                                  greenhouse gas emissions is due to the Plan itself.

 

12                                                          h) Likewise, the EIR contains misleading conclusions that there will be no

 

13                                                                                  environmental significance from the Plans effects in its analysis of

 

14                                                                                  greenhouse gas emissions in the land use sector. When analyzing the Plans

 

15                                                                                  effects on greenhouse gas emissions trajectories, the EIR looks at emissions

 

16                                                                                  from households, commercial, office and industrial land uses, and then

 

17                                                                                  subtracts emissions that will be achieved through AB 32 Scoping Plan

 

18                                                                                  reductions. It is only these reductions from other programs that result in a

 

19                                                                                  finding that land use greenhouse gas emissions will decline by 2040.

 

20                                                                                  However, the EIR makes it appear that the reduction in greenhouse gas

 

21                                                                                  emissions is due to the Plan itself.

 

22                                                          i) The EIR also contains misleading conclusions regarding the effects of the

 

23                                                                                  Plan on displacement of low-income and minority communities, and also

 

24                                                                                  contains misleading conclusions regarding the alternatives ability to mitigate

 

25                                                                                  displacement risks.

 

26                                  80. These failures precluded informed decision-making, including the informed

 

27          comparison of reasonable alternatives to the Project. 28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 21


1                                  81. The agencies action certifying the Projects EIR without providing proper

 

2          information to support their conclusions constitutes a prejudicial abuse of discretion, since they

 

3          failed to proceed in the manner required by CEQA.

 

4                                                                                                                     SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION

 

5             Violation of CEQA - Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et seq. and the CEQA Guidelines, Cal. Code of Regs., Tit. 14, Sections 15000 et seq.

6

ABAG and MTC Failed to Provide a Clear and Accurate Project Description

7

82.              Petitioners re-allege, as if fully set forth herein, each and every allegation contained

8

in the preceding paragraphs. 9

83.              CEQA is a comprehensive statute designed to provide for long-term protection of the 10

environment. In enacting CEQA, the state Legislature declared its intention that all public agencies 11

responsible for regulating activities affecting the environment give prime consideration to 12

preventing environmental damage, while providing a decent home and satisfying living environment 13

for every Californian.(Cal. Pub. Res 21000(g).) 14

84.              To this end, CEQA requires that an EIR include a clear and accurate project 15

description and that the nature and objective of a project be fully disclosed and fairly evaluated in 16

the EIR. Specifically, an EIRs project description must describe [a] statement of the objectives 17

sought by the proposed project,‖ which should include the underlying purpose of the project.‖ (Cal. 18

Code Regs. tit. 14, 15124(b).) A clearly written statement of objectives will help the lead agency 19

develop a reasonable range of alternatives to evaluate in the EIR and will aid the decision makers in 20

preparing findings or a statement of overriding considerations, if necessary.‖ (Id.) The EIR must 21

also contain [a] general description of the projects technical, economic, and environmental 22

characteristics, considering the principal engineering proposals if any and supporting public service

23

facilities.‖ (Cal. Code Regs. tit. 14, 15124(c).) An accurate, stable and finite project description 24

is the sine qua non of an informative and legally sufficient EIR.‖ (County of Inyo v. City of Los

25

Angeles, (1977) 71 Cal. App. 3d 185, 192).

26

85.              The EIR approved by ABAG and MTC fails to provide a clear and accurate 27

description of the Project, in violation of CEQA. For example: 28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 22


1                                                          a) The project description of the EIR is not accurate, stable and finite in the

 

2                                                                                  EIR and responses to comments, the agencies have failed to consistently refer

 

3                                                                                  to the Plan as an RTP or an SCS. The analysis changes between analyzing the

 

4                                                                                  SCS as a distinct project and analyzing the RTP.

 

5                                                          b) Despite the eventual approval of goods movement language in the final Plan,

 

6                                                                          and federal requirements that RTPs integrate goods movement measures, the

 

7                                                                                  project description of the EIR fails to contain any discussion of goods

 

8                                                                                  movement.

 

9                                  86. In responding to CBEs comment raising its concerns with the treatment of goods

 

10          movement issues under the Plan, ABAG and MTC contend that the Plan includes specific Trade

 

11          Corridor Improvement Fund (TCIF) projects,‖ that were identified through MTCs 2004 and 2009

 

12          goods movement analyses. However, none of these projects are discussed in the project description.

 

13                                  87. The agencies also contend that the proposed Plan already includes ―numerous

 

14          projects that provide benefits to goods movement, such as grade separations, investments at the

 

15          Oakland Army Base, dredging in Contra Costa County serving the Port of Stockton, highway

 

16          improvements such as truck lanes and projects that improve freeway operations.‖ Yet none of these

 

17          measures are addressed individually or collectively in the project description.

 

18                                  88. The failure to describe the Project accurately prevented the EIR from including,

 

19          among other things, an accurate analysis and discussion of the environmental impacts from the

 

20          proposal, appropriate mitigation measures, and consideration of a reasonable range of alternatives to

 

21          the Project.

 

22                                  89. These omissions prevent the EIR from meeting CEQAs goals of providing an

 

23          accurate, stable and finite project description,‖ and prevent the public from being fully appraised of

 

24          the environmental impacts of the proposed Plan.

 

25                                  90. The agencies action certifying the EIR without an adequate project description

 

26          constitutes a prejudicial abuse of discretion, since they failed to proceed in the manner required by

 

27          CEQA.

 

28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 23


1                                                                                                                         THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION

 

2                                                            Violation of CEQA (Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et seq.

and the CEQA Guidelines, Cal. Code of Regs., Tit. 14, Sections 15000 et seq.

3

ABAG and MTC Failed to Evaluate Environmental Effects of Proposed Project

4

91.              Petitioners re-allege, as if fully set forth herein, each and every allegation contained 5

in the preceding paragraphs. 6

92.              An EIR is intended to inform other governmental agencies and the public generally 7

of the environmental impact of a proposed project.(Cal. Code Regs. tit. 14, 15003(c)). The

8

obligation to consider the impacts of a particular ―project‖ are reinforced in the guidelines governing 9

evaluation of the significance of impacts from greenhouse gas emissions. (Cal. Code Regs. tit. 14, 10

15064.4(b)). 11

93.              The EIR approved by MTC and ABAG fails to evaluate the environmental effects of 12

the project, Plan Bay Area, in violation of CEQA. For example: 13

a)                  The EIR fails to focus its analysis on the Plans effects on greenhouse gas 14

emissions in the transportation sector. When analyzing the Plans effects on 15

greenhouse gas emissions trajectories, the EIR looks at emissions from 16

various vehicle classes (i.e., passenger vehicles, trucks, buses), and then 17

subtracts emissions reductions that will be achieved from measures 18

implemented separately from the Plan, such as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard 19

and Pavley Clean Car standards. It is only these reductions from other 20

programs that result in a finding that transportation greenhouse gas emissions 21

will decline by 2040. However, the EIR makes it appear that the reduction in 22

greenhouse gas emissions is due to the Plan itself.

23

b)                  The EIR fails to focus its analysis on the Plans effects in its analysis of 24

greenhouse gas emissions in the land use sector. When analyzing the Plans 25

effects on greenhouse gas emissions trajectories, the EIR looks at emissions 26

from households, commercial, office and industrial land uses, and then 27

subtracts emissions that will be achieved through AB 32 Scoping Plan 28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 24


1                                                                                  reductions. It is only these reductions from other programs that result in a

 

2                                                                                  finding that land use greenhouse gas emissions will decline by 2040.

 

3                                                                                  However, the EIR makes it appear that the reduction in greenhouse gas

 

4                                                                                  emissions is due to the Plan itself.

 

5                                                          c) The EIR misinforms the public by stating that the trajectory of the plans

 

6                                                                                  greenhouse gases emissions complies with Executive Order S-3-05 and

 

7                                                                                  Executive Order B-16-2012; and other laws and policies aimed at attaining

 

8                                                                                  greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

 

9                                  94. These failures precluded informed decision-making regarding the effects of the Plan,

 

10          including the informed comparison of reasonable alternatives to the Project.

 

11                                  95. The agencies action certifying the Projects EIR without providing proper

 

12          information to support their conclusions constitutes a prejudicial abuse of discretion, since they

 

13          failed to proceed in the manner required by CEQA.

 

14                                                                                                                     FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION

 

15                                                           Violation of CEQA - Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et seq.

and the CEQA Guidelines, Cal. Code of Regs., Tit. 14, Sections 15000 et seq.

16

ABAG and MTC Provided an Improper Description of the Baseline Conditions.

17

96.              Petitioners re-allege, as if fully set forth herein, each and every allegation contained 18

in the preceding paragraphs. 19

97.              The baseline is the starting point from which to measure whether an impact may be 20

environmentally significant. To this end, CEQA and its implementing guidelines require that an EIR 21

include a description of the physical environmental conditions in the vicinity of the project, as they 22

exist at the time the notice of preparation is published, or, if no notice of preparation is published, at

23

the time environmental analysis is commenced, from both a local and regional perspective. This 24

environmental setting will normally constitute the baseline physical conditions by which a lead 25

agency determines whether an impact is significant.‖ (Cal. Code Regs. tit. 14, 15125(a).)The 26

EIR must demonstrate that the significant environmental impacts of the proposed project were 27

 

28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 25


1          adequately investigated and discussed and it must permit the significant effects of the project to be

 

2          considered in the full environmental context.‖ (Id. 15125(c).)

 

3                                  98. ABAG and MTC failed to properly describe the baseline physical conditions in the

 

4          EIR, and, as a result, the Projects impacts could not be properly understood. In particular, the flaws

 

5          in the EIRs baseline description include, but are not limited to:

 

6                                                          a) A failure to describe the baseline for goods movement currently occurring in

 

7                                                                                  the Bay Area. The EIR fails to provide any information on the volume of

 

8                                                                                  goods currently moving through the Bay Area region, and therefore, interferes

 

9                                                                                  with understanding the environmental impacts that would result from the

 

10                                                                                  goods movement measures that have been adopted as part of the plan.

 

11                                  99. The failure to properly describe the baseline prevented the EIR from adequately

 

12          investigating and discussing the significant environmental impacts of the proposed Project, or from

 

13          making a determination that these effects are not significant and/or will be mitigated to less than

 

14          significant levels.

 

15                                  100. The agencies action certifying the Projects EIR without an adequate description of

 

16          the baseline constitutes a prejudicial abuse of discretion, since they failed to proceed in the manner

 

17          required by CEQA.

 

18                                                                                                                          FIFTH CAUSE OF ACTION

 

19                                                            Violation of CEQA (Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et seq.

and the CEQA Guidelines, Cal. Code of Regs., Tit. 14, Sections 15000 et seq.

20

ABAG and MTC Failued to Evaluate the Significant Environmental Effects of the Project

21

101.          Petitioners re-allege, as if fully set forth herein, each and every allegation contained 22

in the preceding paragraphs.

23

102.          An EIR must clearly identify and fully analyze the proposed projects significant 24

environmental effects, including direct and indirect significant effects, giving due consideration to 25

both short- and long-term effects. (Pub. Res. Code 21100(b), 21002.1; Cal. Code Regs. tit. 14, 26

15126.2(a)). Significant effect on the environment‖ is defined as a substantial, or potentially 27

substantial, adverse change in any of the physical conditions within the area affected by the project 28

 

 

 

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate 26


1          including land, air, water, minerals, flora, fauna, ambient noise, and objects of historic or aesthetic

 

2          significance.(Cal. Code Regs. tit. 14, 15382.)

 

3                                  103. The discussion of significant environmental impacts should include:

 

4                                  [R]elevant specifics of the area, the resources involved, physical changes, alterations to ecological systems, and changes induced in population distribution, population

5                                  concentration, the human use of the land (including commercial and residential development), health and safety problems caused by the physical changes, and other

6                                  aspects of the resource base such as water, historical resources, scenic quality, and public services. The EIR shall also analyze any significant environmental effects the

7                                  project might cause by bringing development and people into the area affected.

Similarly, the EIR should evaluate any potentially significant impacts of locating

8                                  development in other areas susceptible to hazardous conditions (e.g., floodplains, coastlines, wildfire risk areas) as identified in authoritative hazard maps, risk

9                                  assessments or in land use plans addressing such hazards areas.

 

10 (Cal. Code Regs. tit. 14, 15126.2(a).)

 

11                                  104. An EIR must contain a sufficient degree of analysis to provide decision-makers with

 

12          information which enables them to make a decision which intelligently takes account of

 

13          environmental consequences.‖ (Cal. Code Regs. tit. 14, 15151). Absent a statement of overriding

 

14          considerations supported by substantial evidence in the record, public agencies must refrain from

 

15          approving projects with significant environmental effects if there are feasible alternatives or

 

16          mitigation measures that can substantially lessen or avoid those effects. (Cal. Code Regs. tit. 14

 

17          15091, 15092). Failure to adequately identify and analyze all significant impacts impedes the lead

 

18          agencies ability to identify and analyze all feasible mitigation measures and alternatives.

 

19                                  105. The EIR for the Project fails to adequately disclose or evaluate a variety of significant

 

20          environmental impacts including, but not limited to:

 

21                                                          a) The EIR fails to adequately disclose the significant effects from the Plans

 

22                                                                                  effects on transportation greenhouse gas emissions through 2040. It is only by

 

23