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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, October 23, 2023
Contact: Sander Kushen, 949-456-2853, firstname.lastname@example.org
Moreno Valley warehouse project halted over inadequate environmental review
Ruling marks a major victory for environmental advocates and public health
Moreno Valley, Calif. — Last Monday, October 16, Judge Chad Firetag of the Riverside Superior Court overturned approvals for a massive warehouse project near homes and schools in Moreno Valley, handing a major victory to community and environmental groups who argued it violated state environmental law. Today, those groups rallied outside Moreno Valley City Hall to celebrate the ruling.
The judge ruled that the City failed to fully assess the Compass Danbe Centerpointe project's impacts on air quality, noise and truck trips before giving it the green light last year. The project proposed over 390,000 square feet of industrial warehouses on a site zoned for commercial use across from residences.
“This is a huge win for the Inland Empire,” said Marla Matime, the board president of Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ). “Our lungs are not for sale and families deserve to live and thrive in their communities without constant pollutants that threaten our livelihoods. We applaud Judge Firetag’s ruling and hope that this is a standard that is followed for unwanted projects moving forward.”
The Sierra Club, CCAEJ and others sued over the approvals, arguing the environmental review was flawed. Their experts cited the potential for significant diesel emissions and major health risks to schools and homes that would require further study under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
The judge agreed, finding the expert analysis and public comments constituted "substantial evidence" of potentially significant environmental impacts that the City improperly ignored.
“The residents of Moreno Valley can now breathe a bit easier,” said Stan King, Sierra Club Moreno Valley Group Chair. “Warehouse trucks and operations can have profound negative impacts on the community and the environment. There is absolutely no reason they should be near homes and schools.”
Under the ruling, the City must now set aside the approvals and comply with CEQA before reconsidering the project. Sierra Club, CCAEJ and the other groups involved have pledged to continue pressuring Moreno Valley to prioritize healthier development that protects vulnerable residents.
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