Fifth District Holds Defects in EIR’s Air Quality Impact Analysis Require Decertification of Entire EIR

By Julie Jones, Perkins Coie :jdsupra – excerpt

On remand from the California Supreme Court’s decision in Sierra Club v. County of Fresno, 6 Cal.5th 502 (2018) (“Friant Ranch I”), a court of appeal has held that CEQA requires full decertification – not partial decertification – of an EIR that has been adjudged inadequate in any respect. In addition, the court concluded that even if partial decertification were ever allowed, here the EIR’s defects could not be severed from the County’s project approvals, so decertification of the entire EIR was required. Sierra Club v. County of Fresno, No. F079904 (5th Dist., Nov. 24, 2020) (“Friant Ranch II”).

In Friant Ranch I, the California Supreme Court ruled that an EIR’s analysis of air quality impacts and its characterization of the effectiveness of mitigation for those impacts were defective. When the case was remanded to the lower courts, the project proponent argued that the EIR should be decertified only as to the defects the Supreme Court identified and should otherwise remain certified…(more)

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