Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Baseline for EIR decision is what is, not the worst it could be.

On has to wonder what side the South Coast Air Quality Management District is on. It took the California Supreme Court to order the district to order ConocoPhillips to prepare and EIR for a significant change to their refinery. Conoco and the District took the position that they didn’t need an EIR because the new refinery couldn’t possibly pollute as bad as the current one if it were operating at the maximum operation allowed in its permits. The court had to point out that the California Code of Regulations on CEQA calls for a comparison of the future facility with conditions “as they exist at the time . . . environmental analysis is commenced . . .”
The case was Communities for a Better Environment v. South Coast Air Quality Management Dist. (ConocoPhillips Co.) decided March 15.

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