For Immediate Release
Contact: Faraz Rizvi
CCAEJ ALLEGES CITY OF ONTARIO DID NOT FOLLOW CEQA AND CEQA GUIDELINES WHEN THE CITY APPROVED THE SOUTH ONTARIO LOGISTICS CENTER SPECIFIC PLAN
Jurupa Valley, CA – On March 30, 2022 CCAEJ filed a lawsuit against the City of Ontario regarding the adoption of the South Ontario Logistics Center Specific Plan and rezoning amendments to the General Plan. The Specific Plan proposes the potential development of up to 5,333,518 square feet of Industrial and Business Park development. Currently, the land is home to local farmers and used for agricultural purposes. Local farm groups and environmental justice organizations, along with over 1,000+ community members submitted public comments/submissions in opposition of the project. In light of these comments being disregarded and the CEQA process not being followed, CCAEJ has filed a lawsuit against the City of Ontario for the approval of this project.
According to Interim Executive Director Ana Gonzalez, “This project violates the right of the community to live free from environmental harm. These lands are restricted to agricultural lands and the community's voices were ignored. To preserve environmental justice and equity, it is crucial that these communities receive transparency about the impacts that this rezoning can have on their health and well being.”
The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) prepared for the South Ontario Logistics Center Specific Plan failed to disclose that parcels identified for Phase 2 development were originally acquired with Prop 70 funds, and are currently restricted for agricultural preservation, agricultural and wildlife education or wildlife habitat, or for open-space conservation purposes. Additionally, responses to DEIR comments fail to fully disclose all potentially significant impacts and the lack of implementation of mitigations to reduce impacts. In fact, the DEIR’s claim that there are no feasible mitigation measures misconstrue the California Environmental Quality Act’s (CEQA) definition of feasibility and violate the basic principles of CEQA, and comments which raise the concern that the Project would convert farmland to nonagricultural use were not adequately addressed.
The Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) failed to satisfy the informational requirements of CEQA, to provide an accurate, stable and finite Project Description, to provide an adequate discussion of Feasible Mitigation Measures for the Project’s Significant Agricultural Impacts, and failed to adequately analyze and mitigate the Project’s other Potentially Significant Impacts, including impacts to air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. For these reasons, implementation of the Project prior to a proper environmental analysis will irreparably harm the environment, and will result in significant and unmitigated adverse impacts to communities’ health, safety, and welfare.
According to a recent a World Health Organization (WHO) report, there is emerging evidence that Particulate matter, especially PM2.5, impacts organs and is capable of penetrating deep into the lungs and entering the bloodstream, causing cardiovascular, cerebrovascular (stroke) and respiratory impacts, causing other diseases as well (Physicians Briefing, 2022).