"Effect of California Greenhouse Gas Regulations on Local Land Use and Regional Transportation Planning" Free Download
San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 17-295

NILMINI SILVA-SEND, University of San Diego School of Law

This working paper considers the effects of two California bills related to greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation – SB 375 (land use and transportation) and SB 97 (new CEQA Guidelines for GHG planning) – on local land use and regional transportation planning – in particular to contribute to climate and energy policy analysts’ understanding of land use development’s contribution to GHG mitigation.

Climate and energy policy analysts working to develop GHG mitigation policies with local jurisdictions are faced with analyzing the effect of transportation policies that lead to GHG reduction. For example, a policy that implements aggressive goals for alternative transportation other than the single use vehicle must consider land uses zoned for such alternative uses, and consider the combination of effects from all modes of transportation. Land use is a local phenomenon and the state has little power to mandate direct land use changes. On the other hand, the state can and has mandated GHG reduction targets to be achieved from the transportation sector (SB375), which invariably leads to land use changes, and has mandated the analysis of GHG emissions from projects (SB97) and its mitigation to be consistent with the state GHG reduction goals. This paper starts with a background on the basics of local land use planning as reflected in the General Plan, and regional planning as reflected in the regional transportation plan. It then considers provisions of the two regulations, SB 375 and SB 97, how they interact, and how courts have responded to ensuing litigation, to show that SB97 rather than SB375 is currently the main driver of change in land use planning to help lead to transportation GHG emissions changes.


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