Oct. 21, 2016
Southland air quality officials today announced a settlement of two lawsuits to address air pollution from trucks servicing the World Logistics Center in Moreno Valley.
“As a result of working with the SCAQMD over the past several years, the developers of the World Logistics Center have already pledged to implement several air quality mitigation measures,” said Wayne Nastri, acting executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District. “The additional mitigation afforded by this settlement will further protect the health of residents living along the heavily traveled 60 freeway corridor.”
Under the agreement, developer Highland Fairview will pay an additional air quality improvement fee of $.64 cents per square foot for each building in the World Logistics Center as it is constructed over the next 15 years. If the warehouse complex – one of the largest in the nation – is developed as planned, mitigation funds will amount to $26 million by 2030, Nastri said.
Although the mitigation funds paid to SCAQMD may be used for any purpose to improve air quality in the region, SCAQMD officials plan to work with local residents and community groups to develop mitigation efforts focused on reducing emissions in the areas affected by the warehouse project.
For example, individual or fleet truck owners could be offered a financial incentive to purchase a near-zero or zero-emission truck model. Incentives of this nature, through state programs such as Carl Moyer and Prop. 1B, have been an effective tool for more than 18 years in speeding the transition of heavy-duty trucks and other equipment to cleaner models.
Expenditure of mitigation funds from the settlement must be reviewed and approved by SCAQMD’s Governing Board.
The developer has already committed to using only construction equipment that meets the most stringent Tier 4 federal emission standards; requiring that all trucks at a minimum meet 2010 emission standards; and installing a compressed natural gas fueling station.
The agreement settles two lawsuits filed by SCAQMD in Riverside County Superior Court against the City of Moreno Valley and the project developer Highland Fairview, following the city’s approval of the project in August 2015.
SCAQMD filed the first lawsuit in September 2015 challenging the adequacy of proposed air quality mitigations for the project under the California Environmental Quality Act. SCAQMD filed a second lawsuit in February 2016 challenging the adoption of three voter-sponsored initiatives approving the warehouse complex development.
Last month, a judge ruled in favor of the city and the developer in SCAQMD’s second lawsuit, upholding the voter-sponsored initiatives.
The SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.