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OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today filed a lawsuit against the City of Fontana challenging its approval of the Slover and Oleander Warehouse Project. The 205,000 square-foot project shares a border with a public high school and is located in one of the most polluted areas in the state. Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the City of Fontana is required to implement all feasible mitigation measures to reduce harmful air pollution and other significant environmental impacts of the Slover and Oleander Warehouse project. In the lawsuit, Attorney General Bonta argues that the City’s limited environmental review of the project and its failure to appropriately analyze, disclose, and mitigate the project’s environmental impacts violates CEQA.
“Plain and simple: Everyone has the right to breathe clean air where they live and where they work,” said Attorney General Bonta. “As Attorney General, I have a responsibility to enforce the state’s environmental laws, and as the People’s Attorney, I am committed to standing up for communities who live at the intersection of poverty and pollution. Fontana residents shouldn't have to choose between economic development and clean air. They deserve both. Unfortunately, the City of Fontana cut corners when it approved the Slover and Oleander Warehouse Project. We’re going to court today to compel the City to go back and take a hard look at the environmental impacts of this project – and do all it can to mitigate the potential harms to local residents and workers – before moving forward."
The Slover and Oleander Warehouse Project will be constructed in a low-income south Fontana neighborhood that suffers from some of the highest pollution levels in all of California. Over 20 warehouses have already been built within a mile of the project site, in an area that encompasses two public high schools and serves as home to hundreds of Californians. Collectively, these warehouses generate thousands of daily heavy-duty diesel truck trips. As a result, local residents and workers suffer from some of the highest exposures statewide to fine particulate matter, which are inhalable microscopic particles that travel deep into human lungs and are linked to increased risk of premature death, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and asthma attacks. They are also heavily exposed to ozone and toxic chemicals that can cause a wide array of other concerning health problems.
The project itself consists of a 205,000 square-foot warehouse with 22 truck docks, 40 truck parking spaces, and 95 standard parking spaces. The warehouse is expected to generate approximately 114 daily truck trips and 272 daily passenger car trips during the project’s round-the-clock operations. In addition, one quarter of the warehouse space is equipped for cold storage, a use that attracts highly-polluting trucks with auxiliary diesel engines needed for refrigeration. Despite this, the City of Fontana concludes that the project will not have significant environmental impacts and omits mitigation measures such as exceeding green building efficiency standards or using low-emission construction equipment that would reduce the pollution burden to local residents and create additional jobs and improve on-site worker safety.
In the lawsuit, Attorney General Bonta argues that the City of Fontana violated CEQA in its approval of the Slover and Oleander Warehouse Project by failing to:
Attorney General Bonta is committed to fighting environmental injustices throughout the state of California and being a voice for frontline communities who are all too often under-resourced and overburdened. On April 28, 2021, Attorney General Bonta announced the expansion of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Environmental Justice. You can find more information on the Bureau and its work at: https://oag.ca.gov/environment/justice.
A copy of the petition can be found here.