Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, June 15, 2018

Contact:  Aruna Prabhala, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 844-7122,
Bill Magavern, Coalition for Clean Air, (916) 527-8051,
George Hague, Sierra Club, (951) 313-0395,
Adrian Martinez, Earthjustice, (415) 217-2000,

Judge Rules Against Sprawling Southern California Mega-warehouse Project

Environmental Review for 40 Million Square-foot Logistics Center Voided

MORENO VALLEY, Calif.— In a victory over Southern California’s environmentally destructive warehouse boom, a Superior Court judge has ruled against a massive project that would pollute the air in the city of Moreno Valley.

The judgment, made public Thursday afternoon, sets aside the environmental review and city’s approvals for the World Logistics Center, which would be approximately the size of three of New York’s Central Park. The ruling, which comes in a lawsuit brought by environmental justice and conservation groups, also prohibits future approvals or activity on the site until the city complies with the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.

The World Logistics Center is a 40-million-square-foot warehouse project that would have added 14,000 truck trips to city’s roads every day, worsened already poor air quality and harmed birds and other wildlife in the nearby San Jacinto Wildlife Area. 

“This is a major victory against this destructive project and the broader warehouse boom wreaking havoc on Southern California’s environment,” said Aruna Prabhala, a staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “If the developer wants to move forward, the environmental analysis needs to start from scratch and take a hard look at the tremendous threat to wildlife and air quality. E-commerce is driving these huge projects, but they’re causing major harm in the real world.”

Environmental review of the warehouse project was completed by the city in August 2015 and was immediately challenged under CEQA for its substantial impacts to air quality, climate change, traffic, wildlife and the community. In February Judge Sharon Waters ruled that the Environmental Impact Report failed to adequately analyze and mitigate the resulting construction noise, loss of farmland, energy use, wildlife buffers and cumulative impacts to the surrounding area. The judgment issued yesterday declared the entire “environmental impact report” void.

“Judge Waters’ decision puts the brakes on the destructive World Logistics Center project, which would have serious negative impacts on the community’s health and environment,” said Bill Magavern, policy director for the Coalition for Clean Air.

About the size of 700 football fields, the World Logistics Center was expected to generate hundreds of thousands of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. and thousands of truck trips to the site every day. Thousands of trucks would be transporting goods more than 80 miles from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to Moreno Valley, often on two-lane roads that are already congested. Despite recognizing the project’s significant contributions to worsening air quality, increased traffic congestion and climate change, the city required only meager steps to reduce those harms.

The World Logistics Center is also adjacent to the San Jacinto Wildlife Area, which is home to many threatened and endangered wildlife and plants, including the Los Angeles pocket mouse, California golden eagle, numerous hawk, raptor and other bird species including the burrowing owl, tricolored blackbird and endangered plants including the San Jacinto crownscale. The project area itself is one of the best raptor habitats in the state.

“The people of Moreno Valley and surrounding towns will significantly benefit from the World Logistic Center having to produce a new Environmental Impact Report which does a better job of analyzing its impacts of more than 14,000 daily diesel truck trips on the health of children and the elderly as well as the resources of the San Jacinto Wildlife Area." said George Hague, conservation chair of Sierra Club’s Moreno Valley Group.

The decision requires a more honest assessment of the environmental consequences of this massive project before the developers can start building their warehouses.

“It is a good day when a court vindicates our rights to truly understand the impacts of the freight industry on our health and special places like the San Jacinto Wildlife Area,” said Adrian Martinez, a staff attorney with Earthjustice.

The Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society and Coalition for Clean Air are represented by Earthjustice in this lawsuit. There remains a pending lawsuit over the constitutionality of the initiatives approving the warehouse project.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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