Environmental Groups Sue Over World Logistics Center In Moreno Valley

Jul 24, 2020

Credit Benjamin Purper / KVCR

A coalition of environmental groups is suing the city of Moreno Valley for approving the World Logistics Center, a sprawling mega-warehouse that they say would worsen air quality and other environmental indicators in the region. 

The 40-million-square-foot World Logistics Center, which will be about the size of 700 football fields, has been in the works since 2012.

After being tied up in legal challenges since then, the city of Moreno Valley approved it again last month with a revised environmental impact report – one of the project’s main sticking points.

Adrian Martinez is with Earthjustice, one of the groups suing the city. He says all the trucks associated with the center will significantly worsen air pollution.

“The project is so massive in scope that it will attract tens of thousands of vehicles into the campus each day," Martinez says. "And this is an area that is already choked with traffic, the 60 as you head out of Riverside towards Moreno Valley. And so, all along the way, the trucks and other vehicles going to this facility will spill lots of pollution on the communities, and particularly the communities close by to this facility will be harmed.”

The World Logistics Center is also adjacent to the San Jacinto Wildlife Area, home to many threatened and endangered wildlife and plants. Aruna Prabhala is with the Center for Biological Diversity.

“There’s also impacts on the San Jacinto Wildlife Area which is home to California golden eagles, Los Angeles pocket mouse, burrowing owls, tricolored blackbirds, and a whole host of endangered and threatened species that are really important to the ecosystem not just of the region but the entire state,” Prabhala says. 

Developer Highland Fairview, meanwhile, says the project would bring thousands of jobs and points to several of its environmental mitigation efforts, including a carbon offset program, waste recycling, electric vehicle charging stations, and more.

In an emailed statement, spokesperson for the World Logistics Center Eric Rose said “[u]nfortunately, it is too easy and all too common for special interest groups to sue cities and development projects in California under [the California Environmental Quality Act] to advance their special interest agendas and extort benefits that they are otherwise not entitled to by law.”

Rose says “the community that approved the project and strongly supports the World Logistics Center will have to wait longer for the 33,000 local jobs this amazing project which is estimated by the city to produce.”