For Immediate Release, March 8, 2010
Matt Vespa, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 632-5309 or (415) 310-1549 (cell)
Settlement Reached to Reduce Global Warming Impacts of Walmart Supercenters in Southern California
SAN FRANCISCO— The Center for Biological Diversity has settled two lawsuits brought against Walmart over the global warming impacts of proposed Supercenters in Perris and Yucca Valley, California. The settlement requires Walmart to install three rooftop solar facilities of at least 250 kilowatts, incorporate cutting-edge efficiency measures into the design of the proposed stores, and implement a refrigerant audit and improvement program at certain existing Walmart stores in California. The suits, brought under the California Environmental Quality Act, challenged the adequacy of the environmental review for the projects for failure to properly consider measures to reduce the greenhouse gas pollution resulting from the Supercenters.
“This settlement is yet another example of the California Environmental Quality Act working to improve new development, reduce greenhouse gas pollution, save energy, save money, and promote a vibrant green economy,” said Matt Vespa, a senior attorney with the Center’s Climate Law Institute. “The settlement raises the bar for future projects. If big-box stores are to be built in California, measures like the installation of solar-power systems must be adopted to minimize the project’s greenhouse gas pollution.”
The lawsuits are part of series of court challenges brought by the Center to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from new development through the California Environmental Quality Act, which mandates that projects with significant environmental effects adopt all feasible alternatives and mitigation measures to substantially lessen their impact.
The Yucca Valley settlement also includes a $120,000 contribution to the Mojave Desert Land Trust for land-conservation purposes and acknowledges the right of the Coalition for Environmental Integrity of Yucca Valley, also a party to the Yucca Valley settlement, to endorse a ballot initiative prohibiting development of the Supercenter and other discount superstores in the Town of Yucca Valley.
Walmart also agreed to implement a similar set of greenhouse gas reduction measures to settle a separate challenge to a proposed Supercenter in Riverside, California, brought by Riverside Citizens for Smart Growth.
The major substantive terms of the settlements are available at http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ceqa/pdfs/walmart-settlement-letter-yucca-valley.pdf and http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ceqa/pdfs/walmart-settlement-letter-perris.pdf.
Visit the Center’s Web site for more information on our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the California Environmental Quality Act.