Yesterday, California Attorney General Jerry Brown spoke at the annual convention of the California State Association of Counties, discussing his office's efforts to have local officials account for climate-change-impacts from new developments. His message was rather simple and blunt-- work with me, or I'll sue:
SACRAMENTO -- California Attorney General Jerry Brown today presented state counties at their annual conference a list of ways to avoid winding up like the state's largest county.
Brown today told county supervisors at the 113th annual meeting of the California State Association of Counties that state law obliges them to reduce state greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The meeting was held in Brown's hometown of Oakland, in Alameda County.
The AG delivered a laundry-list of ways that county development could proceed without adding to state GHG emissions. These included encouraging high-density housing and limits on parking to reduce car trips, stressing energy-efficient building designs and installing methane-recovery technology.
Further press coverage from the Inland Empire's Victorville Daily Press indicates that most local officials in San Bernardino County, while obviously not glad to have been sued this year, are rather pleased with the resulting settllement and working relationship. Some, but not all, including some rather strong opinions we've encoutered (and debunked) previously:
“I believe the attorney general’s actions in filing this lawsuit were wrong” wrote San Bernardino County 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt in an op-ed in the Daily Press.
“Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, as a matter of policy, is more appropriately addressed through international treaties, federal legislation and regulations, and state legislation and regulations,” he wrote.
“This lawsuit tactic is harassment,” said James Taylor, managing editor of Environment and Climate News. “There are no legal basis for these suits. It’s mere grand standing and has no place in the judicial system.”
We'll simply refer back to our previous coverage of this issue with regard to Taylor's broad allegations. As for Mitzfelt's less-fiery rationale, it simply bears pointing out that just as with those representing various industry groups and the current White House, his policy preferences do not bind the Attorney General. The law, which he has seen fit to enforce in a new way, is what Brown answers to.