Press Release: Lawsuit Challenges Massive Southern California Warehouse Project
For Immediate Release, April 12, 2019
Andrea Vidaurre, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, (951) 360-8451, [email protected]
Kim F. Floyd, Sierra Club, (760) 680-9479, [email protected]
John Buse, Center for Biological Diversity, (323) 533-4416, [email protected]
Lawsuit Challenges Massive Southern California Warehouse Project
3.4 MILLION SQUARE-FOOT COMPLEX WOULD POLLUTE NEIGHBORHOOD’S AIR, DESTROY HABITAT FOR RARE WILDLIFE
FONTANA, Calif.— Environmental justice and conservation groups sued the Southern California city of Fontana today for approving the West Valley Logistics Center project, a complex of industrial warehouses the size of 60 football fields that would pollute a neighborhood’s air and destroy wildlife habitat.
The warehouses would be built on open space next to a residential neighborhood and would add more than 6,000 vehicle trips per day — including 2,000 diesel trucks — to an area already plagued by dangerously poor air quality.
“The cities of Bloomington and Fontana continue to face the onslaught of diesel emissions brought forth by warehouse development, causing residents to contract asthma, respiratory illness, heart disease and birth defects,” said Andrea Vidaurre, a policy analyst at the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice.
“It’s unconscionable that the city is adding to the pollution burden for this community in order to line the pockets of a developer.” The project would bulldoze critical habitat for the coastal California gnatcatcher — an imperiled bird — and destroy a wildlife corridor that allows animals to move between the Jurupa Hills and Rattlesnake Mountain.
“This project is a bad deal for people and wildlife,” said Kim Floyd, conservation chair of Sierra Club’s San Gorgonio Chapter. “City officials should be working to protect open space and provide parks instead of turning a residential neighborhood into a diesel truck route.”
Mayor Acquanetta Warren and councilmembers Jesse Armendarez and Phillip Cothran approved the project in a 3-1 vote despite strong opposition from the community, local officials and even the city’s own planning department.
“Sticking an enormous warehouse complex next to a residential neighborhood is the opposite of smart planning,” said John Buse, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This heavily polluting project would add insult to injury by paving over lands the gnatcatcher needs to recover. It’d be a major blow to these imperiled birds.”
Today’s lawsuit was filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court and challenges the city council’s failure to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, known as “CEQA.” The city council violated the Act by failing to accurately disclose and adequately reduce the project’s impacts on people and the environment. The groups are represented by the Law Offices of Babak Naficy.
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The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation.
The Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (“CCAEJ”) operates a comprehensive suite of community engagement programs focused on reducing residents’ exposure to local pollution sources and bringing resources and amenities to low income communities of color. CCAEJ serves the Environmental Justice Communities of San Bernardino and Riverside counties in Southern California’s Inland Valley Region.