Although apparently a letter from the California Attorney General critical of the Chevron Modernization EIR arrived at the City Friday night, no one bothered to tell the City Council about it.
I found out from a Chevron spokesperson Monday afternoon, and I found a copy of the letter in an email from the RPA a little later. See the AG letter here.
I talked to a representative from the City’s EIR and legal team last night who told me that they felt blindsided by the AG. They had been working closely with the AG’s office for a long time in an effort to resolve any concerns and believed that resolution had been successful. They also believe that most, if not all, of the AG’s concerns have been resolved in revisions to the DEIR that are included in the FEIR.
I’m not so sure. I have read the letter and skimmed the FEIR. There appear to be some significant differences of opinion between our EIR team and the AG regarding legal requirements of what must be covered in an EIR.
We charged our EIR and legal team with producing a “bulletproof” EIR, and I thought we were there. Obviously not.
The AG identified five areas that it believes require further evaluation and possibly mitigation:
- Safety hazards of the proposed project;
- Potential project impacts on statewide climate protection objectives;
- The project's cumulative air pollution impacts on the already-disparately impacted local community;
- Feasible measures to cut local air pollution; and
- Reasonable alternatives that may be environmentally superior to the project as currently proposed.
I’m not sure where we go from here, but this is a major development that may thwart my objective to get the FEIR certified and a permit issued before we go on August break. At this point, I would say we would be doing well to get it done before the end of 2014, and then it will likely become the target of a CEQA lawsuit like the last one.
IF the AG doesn’t challenge the EIR, they have provided the roadmap for others to do so.