One of the enforcement provisions related to greenhouse gas emissions, for instance, “is essentially the fox guarding the hen house,” Whitney ruled. Moreover, the environmental review “does not acknowledge or analyze the impact of adding more than 1,100 new homes to the area as to humans being an ignition cause of wildfires.”
Spokesmen for the county and for Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher did not immediately comment. Fletcher had been the only supervisor to vote against portions of a 36 square mile (93 square kilometers) development, nearly the size of San Francisco.
In February, the attorney general's office similarly backed Northern California court challenges contending that Lake County officials did not properly account for the increased wildfire risk from approving 1,400 homes, 850 hotel rooms and resort apartments and other resort amenities on the 25-square mile ( 65 square kilometer) Guenoc Valley Ranch property.
California Building Industry Association president and CEO Dan Dunmoyer previously said that the attorney general is overstepping his authority by challenging local officials’ extensive wildfire safety precautions.
The challenges come at a time when California is struggling with a persistent affordable housing and homelessness problem, though critics said the proposed upscale developments would do little to help.
The attorney general intervened under a 2018 update to the state's sweeping environmental law and new standards for local officials to analyze whether development projects will increase wildfire risks.