California Should Adopt San Joaquin Valley New Development Rule Statewide To Help Meet Global Warming Law Requirements, Study Shows

July 9, 2008
Kathyrn Phillips, 916-893-8494-c,
Sean Crowley, 202-572-3331-w,
(Fresno, CA – July 9, 2008) – A landmark regulation proven in the San Joaquin Valley to reduce air pollution from new development projects could help meet a state law requirement to dramatically cut global warming pollution statewide, according to a new peer-reviewed study released today.
The study, released a few days prior to a June 14 public workshop in Fresno by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on its draft scoping plan for implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), shows there are proven measures the state can be use to capture more global warming pollution, while diversifying housing and transportation choices. The study affirms the value of the rule known as the Indirect Source Rule, adopted by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District in 2005.
“We can’t afford to discount any effective tool to cut global warming pollution,” said Kathryn Phillips, manager of the California Clean Air for Life Campaign for Environmental Defense Fund, which sponsored the study. “CARB officials must resist industry opposition to an indirect source rule and other proven land use measures that could cut millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions statewide.”
The new study, “Reducing Global Warming and Air Pollution: The Role of Green Development in California,” was prepared by Lawrence Frank and Company, Inc. (LFC). It focuses on a literature review of building and site design decisions and their connection to air pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions, and evaluates the value of the indirect source rule for reducing those emissions.
CARB’s AB 32 draft scoping plan, released last week, notes that an indirect source rule is “under consideration” to cut California’s carbon dioxide emissions by up to one million metric tons by 2020. However, the agency’s plan stops short of including the rule among actions that must be adopted and applied to get emission reductions around the state.
The Indirect Source Rule (ISR) was adopted by the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District in December 2005 and took effect in March 2006. It requires development projects that exceed size thresholds to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) during construction (20 percent of NOx and 45 percent of PM10 from construction equipment exhaust) and after occupancy (33 percent of NOx and 50 percent of PM over 10 years of operation). Mitigation measures may include low-emissions construction equipment, buildings designed with energy efficiency measures, building and site design measures, and a mitigation fee. 
A statewide developer trade association, the California Building Industry Association, has tried to prevent local air districts from adopting and implementing indirect source rules and unsuccessfully challenged the San Joaquin Valley rule in court. The group has also worked to limit any application of the rule to meet the state’s global warming pollution reduction goals.
“This new study should convince CARB and the governor to follow the lead of a Fresno County Superior Court judge who rejected the California Building Industry Association’s efforts last February to require developers to cut pollution when they build housing,” concluded Phillips. “The next draft of the scoping plan should include a clear path for applying the indirect source rule without delay. There’s no time left to waste.”     
The new study concludes:
  1. An indirect source rule can effectively be applied to reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2).
  2. There is a measurable link between new development and vehicle-based (indirect source) air pollution. 
  3. Because of the link between land use decisions and travel behavior, developers can play a role in reducing indirect source pollution from vehicle travel. 
  4. The indirect source rule is an appropriate mechanism to reduce pollution created by new development projects.