Greenhouse Gas and Toxic Air Contaminant CEQA Thresholds May Soon Be Reinstated

In California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (filed August 13, 2013) (“CBIA”) , the First District Court of Appeal concluded that an agency’s approval of CEQA significance thresholds does not constitute a “project” under CEQA, and consequently, does not require CEQA review.

In 2012, the Alameda Superior Court invalidated the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s ( “District”) adoption of CEQA significance thresholds for certain air pollutants and greenhouse gasses, which the District had adopted in response to new greenhouse gas legislation, including the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, among other things.

In reversing the Superior Court, the Court of Appeal found that the District’s CEQA significance thresholds were not a “project” subject to CEQA review for two reasons: (1) the CEQA Guidelines establish the required procedure for enacting generally applicable thresholds of significance and prior CEQA review of the thresholds is not part of this procedure; and (2) the environmental change posited by petitioner California Building Industry Association (CBIA) as the basis for CEQA review was not reasonably foreseeable based on the evidence in the record.Continue Reading Appellate Court Finds BAAQMD CEQA Significance Thresholds Did Not Violate CEQA