Judge Says "No Más" to New Polluting Power Plants Near LA

My NRDC colleague Tim Grabiel preserved a huge victory today in court.   By way of context, on July 28, 2008, Tim and his co-counsel won a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) case that prevented the South Coast Air Quality Management District (the "District") from selling emissions credits to polluters without having completed a decent environmental review.  Rather than comply, the District tried to subvert the court's ruling by submitting a proposed judgment and writ that would have effectively undone what the court had ordered. 

Today, the Honorable Ann. I. Jones rejected the District's shameless attempt to circumnavigate around her July 28th ruling.  The court was clear that any attempt to make emissions credits out of thin air -- or, more apropos, dirty air -- and hand them out to power plants and refineries and -- get this, a beer company -- would amount to contempt of court. 

The District tried to get a judgment that would allow it to behave as though it had won the CEQA case, claiming that hospitals and schools would shut down, the lights would go off, dogs and cats would be living together. . . . massive pandemonium,  if their request were denied.  But Judge Jones literally said "no más" to the District's repeated claims of gloom and doom, and flat-out rejected this latest attempt to get around the practical implications of her ruling.  As a result, there will be no distributing of any bogus credits until the air district complies with the law.  The lungs of Southern California residents breathed a collective sigh of relief!

The District is already trying to spin Judge Jones' ruling as catastrophic, perhaps gearing up for a battle in Sacramento, Washington D.C., or the Court of Appeal.  But that would be a shame.  Instead, as NRDC has repeatedly offered, we should be meeting to resolve these issues out of the court rooms and legislative backrooms.  It is an invitation that we hope the air district and industry will finally take us up on.