Glen Campbell March 30, 2006 Page 4
(3) The environmental effects of a project will cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly.” (Pub. Res. Code § 21083(b).)
In other words, if these criteria are present with regard to a project’s impacts on the environment, they must be considered in an EIR. The Plan under consideration in this DPEIR, with its projected 45% increase in vehicular miles traveled by the year 2030, when considered in light of the severe impacts cars and trucks have on the level of greenhouse gas emissions in this state, clearly “has the potential to degrade the environment.” (See ibid., subd. (b)(1).) Moreover, the cumulative effects of this project on greenhouse gas emissions, when taken in consideration with the impacts statewide of increased population and vehicular travel over the next quarter century, are undeniable. (See ibid., subd. (b)(2).) When considering the impacts of climate change on California, it is impossible to ignore that the impacts of this project will have either direct or indirect effects on human beings. (See ibid., subd. (b)(3).) Given the scope of the Plan (both in years, and geographically), the projected increase in vehicle travel it calls for, and the fact that it covers one of the most heavily populated regions in the State, there is no question that the impacts of this Plan on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change may, and likely will, have significant cumulative environmental impacts for California. These impacts should have been considered and analyzed in the DPEIR.
There could be such analysis in the DPEIR; the data is obtainable. Carbon dioxide emissions from cars can be quantified. The California Air Resources Board has information that could be applied to the projected increase in VMT. The impacts could be assessed as to their cumulative impact on climate change, assuming (as is highly probable in this Plan) that there would be a considerable impact from the increase in CO2 resulting from the increased VMT. (See Cal. Code Regs., title 14, § 15130(a) [“an EIR shall discuss cumulative impacts of a project when the project’s incremental effect is cumulatively considerable.] See also Cal. Code Regs., title 14, § 15065(a)(3) [“‘Cumulatively considerable’ means that the incremental effects of an individual project are significant when viewed in connection with the effects of past projects, the effects of other current projects, and the effects of probably future projects.”].)
Moreover, the Plan could include mitigation for these impacts. The Governor has recognized, “mitigation efforts will be necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation efforts will be necessary to prepare Californians for the consequences of global warming.” (Executive Order S-3-05, June 1, 2005.) Increased public transportation, increased support of alternative fuels and technologies, the purchase of carbon offsets (or mitigation “credits”), installation of electric vehicle charging stations, and other affirmative steps to reduce the transportation impacts of CO2 could be considered as potential mitigation projects. These are real, achievable and available mitigation measures that could be considered when OCTA