State AG launching legal fight over San Bernardino air cargo center

Leticia Juarez Image
Monday, February 24, 2020
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The state attorney general is escalating a fight over a new air cargo logistics center being built in San Bernardino.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- The state attorney general is escalating a fight over a new air cargo logistics center being built in San Bernardino.

He filed a lawsuit recently calling for more environmental review over concerns about pollution.

Construction is underway on a nearly 700,000 square foot air cargo logistic center on the former site of Norton air force base.

But a lawsuit filed by California state Attorney General Xavier Becerra wants more done to protect surrounding communities.

"We are filling a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration, the San Bernardino International Airport Authority, and Hillwood Enterprises, the project's developer, because in California we can't have business as usual hurt distressed communities in our state," Becerra said.

At the heart of the lawsuit is the increased amount of pollution the logistic center would generate once fully operational.

"That means pollution from 500 more truck trips and 26 more flights being poured into the air that the children here, the families here breathe every day already," he said.

Beccerra and local environmental and labor leaders are calling for more comprehensive environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act.

But supporters of the air cargo facility say those environmental studies have already been done at the local, state and federal level.

The FAA green-lighted the project in December despite projections the facility's operations would likely produce more pollution in the region.

"The impact of truck trips and around-the-clock plane visits will leave a massive impact on our air and on our climate," said Yassi Kavezade with the Sierra Club.

In addition to pollution, labor leaders are concerned the 4,000 jobs the facility will generate will be low-wage.

"What we are asking for is a community benefit agreement that doesn't prevent the project but actually has a true partnership, where the community labor environmental interest and local electives sit down and have a good conversation about good jobs, good air, good communities and a good future," said Randy Korgan with Teamsters Local 1932.

The FAA declined comment on the pending litigation. The airport authority said it is reviewing the suit with its legal team.