On June 2, 2010, the San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) adopted CEQA thresholds of significance for greenhouse gas emissions. BAAQMD can certainly be seen as a trailblazer, as the agency is the first air district in the state to establish quantitative thresholds of non-stationary sources. BAAQMD adopted two quantitative thresholds: a “bright line” threshold of 1,100 MT CO2e/year; and an “efficiency” threshold of 4.6 MT CO2e/“service population.” BAAQMD also approved a qualitative threshold based on consistency with a qualified greenhouse gas reduction strategy or similar program. These thresholds apply prospectively; thus, for any projects that were pending before June 2, a lead agency can choose not to apply the thresholds. BAAQMD developed these thresholds through a rigorous process that yielded its share of friends and foes. Of note is the positive feedback from the California Attorney General’s Office, which supports the adopted thresholds because they are devised to meet clearly identified, quantifiable objectives that are linked to the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, commonly known as AB 32.
A more detailed discussion of the recently adopted thresholds can found in the July 2010 issue of the California Land Use Law & Policy Reporter, available at: http://www.argentco.com/htm/n20020101.123890.htm. The feature article, entitled “The San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District Adopts Stringent CEQA Thresholds of Significance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” was written by Tiffany K. Wright, a partner at Remy Thomas Moose & Manley, LLP.