Brown says city not doing enough to curb greenhouse emissions

By Chris Amico | Jun 28, 2008

Jerry Brown (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-One California city's general plan has drawn the attention of state Attorney General Jerry Brown, who says it isn't doing enough to fight sprawl and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Sierra Club and a local environmental group sued Stockton, Calif., in January over its general plan. Brown has threatened to join the litigation against the Central Valley city, officials told Legal Newsline.

The general plan would double Stockton's population by 2035, and critics charge it pushes too far into green zones at the city's edges.

Brown has made a campaign of going after local agencies he says are contributing to global climate change.

He sued San Bernardino County over its general plan, and reached settlements with San Diego Airport, the Port of Los Angeles and Chevron Corp.

Representatives of the city and Brown's office said discussions are ongoing and have been generally positive. Gareth Lacy, Brown's spokesman, the attorney general isn't close to filing a lawsuit.

"We've had very positive discussions with them about climate change and the impact of general plans on global warming," he said. "I wouldn't say we're anywhere near a resolution."

Ren Nosky, Stockton's city attorney, told LNL city officials have met with Brown personally and with his staff to work out a change in the plan's land use policy. The discussions are "not adversarial," he added, and are moving in a positive direction.

Brown "seems most keenly concerned with promoting density," Nosky said, though he could not be more specific because of the ongoing negotiations.

The city is looking for ways to promote greener building, Nosky said, but he added: "There has to be some degree of development in our fringes."

The attorney general's strategy of targeting local governments has drawn the ire of conservative groups, who argue that the effort is more about Brown's political future (he is widely expected to run for governor in 2010) than global warming.

Some also question the efficacy of fighting global warming at a local level.

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