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SCAQMD Exceeds its Authority by Challenging
Results of the World Logistics Center
Initiative Process
Regional agency continues its attempts to thwart development
of World Logistics Center Project which will
implement the State’s highest environmental standards

In filing a lawsuit challenging the City Council’s unanimous approval of several citizen initiated petitions, the South Coast Air Quality Management District is overstepping its authority and attempting to thwart development of a project which will lead California in implementing the highest environmental standards and producing thousands of local jobs. In doing so, SCAQMD is attempting to use the court to expand its authority into areas where it does not have regulatory power.

The lawsuit announced today by SCAQMD seeks to overturn the results of three voter initiatives - - bearing 50,000 signatures - - in support of the World Logistics Center project. All three initiatives were approved in full compliance with California law. The lawsuit also follows the failure of two referendums which sought to overturn approval of those initiatives.

“The will of the people is clear,” said Mayor Yxstian Gutierrez. “Moreno Valley voters overwhelmingly support the World Logistics Center project. It’s time to move beyond frivolous lawsuits which disrespect Moreno Valley residents and attempt to delay the arrival of long-needed jobs in our community,” he said.

“Air Quality regulators should focus on their responsibilities to implement clean air programs, rather than dabbling in election law,” said Mayor Gutierrez.

SCAQMD’s legal mandate is clearly defined. As prescribed in the California Health & Safety Code, the Air Quality Management District was created to “take a leadership role to sponsor, coordinate, and promote projects which increase the use of clean-burning fuels in the transportation and stationary source sectors, and that it is the intent of the Legislature that the District establish voluntary programs to accelerate the utilization of clean-burning fuels within the South Coast Air Basin.”

The District's attempts to delay the World Logistics Center run counter to its basic mission. In approving this project, the Moreno Valley City Council did what the District itself could not; it put air quality plans into action by mandating near-zero emission technology on the largest industrial project in California's history.

“Because the District’s primary responsibility is to support use of clean technology, they should be asking Moreno Valley how they can assist with this project rather than attempting to delay it,” said Mayor Gutierrez.

The District’s recent action would harm local air quality by delaying the arrival of 20,000 jobs to the Inland region, thereby requiring local residents to continue commuting long distances to jobs in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.

The City of Moreno Valley’s environmental bona fides are well established. The City is home to a 1.8 million square foot facility - - constructed by Highland Fairview - - which is the largest LEED-certified facility of its kind.

In approving the World Logistics Center, City officials recognized that the project will require adherence to clean fuel standards that have not been imposed for any other major project in any other city in California. Yet in its initial lawsuit, SCAQMD attempted to require Moreno Valley to impose future, unspecified air quality standards to the World Logistics Center project. In doing so, the District has also attempted to impose standards that have not been required in any other of its member jurisdictions. The City reasonably expects the Air Quality Management District to support a level playing field for all projects in all cities.

The World Logistics Center project was subjected to the most extensive environmental analysis conducted in the region’s history, involving a three-year review period with full public hearings and a 10,000-page certified Environmental Impact Report.

“The WLC goes further than any other major project; it is a tremendous step forward in bringing clean industry to Southern California while generating tens of thousands of jobs and billions in economic activity,” said Mayor Gutierrez. “We call upon SCAQMD to drop its lawsuits and support a project that does more to further environmental responsibility than any other project of its kind…in any other community in California,” he said.