California Attorney General Rob Bonta has asked a federal appeals court to reconsider an environmental challenge of the Federal Aviation Administration’s 2019 approval of the Amazon Air Regional Air Hub at San Bernardino International Airport.
Bonta’s predecessor, Xavier Becerra, and local environmental law groups filed a federal lawsuit in early 2020, shortly after the FAA gave its blessing to the new 660,000-square-foot logistics center at the former Norton Air Force Base.
A panel of three members from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the challenge by a 2-1 vote in November.
Becerra and others argue that throughout the project approval process, the FAA, San Bernardino International Airport Authority, and master developer Hillwood Enterprises ignored significant health risks that the sorting plant would pose to the surrounding San Bernardino-Muscoy community.
Together, they have called for a comprehensive environmental review of the project before operations began there.
In November, the two judges in the 9th Circuit, who ruled in the case, wrote that the petitioners did not sufficiently argue that the FAA was failing in its obligation to adequately consider the cumulative effects of a project that would eventually have air. – and ground freight around the clock. near sensitive applications.
In his dissent, U.S. District Judge Johnnie Rawlinson wrote that the case “sounds like environmental racism, defined as” the creation, construction, and enforcement of environmental laws that have a disproportionate and different impact on a particular race. “
Bonta, who succeeded Becerra in April, now wants the entire 9th District to hear the argument and decide whether the three judges judged correctly.
“It does not matter who you are or how much money you have,” Bonta said in a news release on Monday, January 3rd. “You can not cut corners when the health and well-being of our communities is at stake.… The fact is: Communities like the one affected by this project in San Bernardino are all too often overburdened and under-resources.
“These communities, which are already experiencing health damage from pollution,” Bonta added, “deserve to be fully protected by law, and through our Bureau of Environmental Justice, we are committed to seeing this fight through.”
In the press release, Bonta claims the panel’s decision “to allow an agency to rest the project’s approval on a flawed environmental analysis, where the impacts are highly uncertain and controversial conflicts with the ninth circle and the Supreme Court precedents.”
Amazon opened the $ 200 million Amazon Air Regional Air Hub this spring.
The sorting plant west of Victoria Avenue and south of Third Street in eastern San Bernardino will serve as Southern California’s headquarters for the e-commerce giant’s expansive shipping network.
Airport officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Monday.