FONTANA, Calif. Sept. 16, 2019 — Conservation groups and UST-CB Partners, a development company, reached an agreement today over a controversial warehouse project in the Southern California city of Fontana that threatened local communities and wildlife habitat.
Today’s agreement mandates new measures aimed at reducing air pollution from the warehouse and protecting living space for imperiled California gnatcatchers, tiny songbirds that have lost vast stretches of habitat to development. The species is designated as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.
“This agreement gives songbirds and other animals a chance to move freely between swaths of habitat,” said Ileene Anderson, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It will help keep the Inland Empire’s wildlife connected to ensure we don’t lose our precious plants and animals, many of which aren’t found anywhere else in the world.”
Today’s agreement settles a lawsuit, filed by the conservation groups in April against the city of Fontana, for approving the large complex of industrial warehouses.
As a condition of the agreement, the warehouse development must also take concrete steps to reduce its air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as adopt energy- and water-efficiency measures.
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“The rapid growth of the logistics industry in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties has contributed to an increase in bad air quality days beginning in 2013,” said Kim Floyd, conservation chair of Sierra Club’s San Gorgonio Chapter. “Developers can help stop this increase by incorporating mitigations such as those agreed on in this settlement.”
The Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice had filed suit in San Bernardino Superior Court against Fontana over the city’s inadequate environmental review of the warehouse project. As part of the agreement, the conservation groups will dismiss the lawsuit.