The city approved a project to replace multiple existing stores with one larger store. The city adopted a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MID), outlining revisions to the project to reduce project greenhouse gas emissions below “business as usual” levels. A citizens group sought to compel the city to conduct an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), claiming the city did not adequately investigate and measure the project’s environmental impact since the project might exceed the threshold favored by the group. The city claimed no EIR was necessary since the project was within the legal standards of greenhouse gas emissions. A California court of appeals held the project’s greenhouse gas emissions were not of a level to necessitate an EIR since they were mitigated beyond levels chosen as the standard threshold. [Citizens for Responsible Equitable Environmental Development v. City of Chula Vista (2011) 197 CA4th 327]

Editor’s note — Alongside their objection to the project’s greenhouse gas emissions, the citizens group also claimed the MID did not address the presence of contaminated soil on the project site which would have a negative environmental impact. Though the appellate court held an EIR is not required under the claim the project would have significant greenhouse gas emissions, the city was ordered to reassess the state of soil on the project site and to complete an EIR if the soil proved to be contaminated.

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