Judge blasts San Diego County’s pay-to-pollute plan — putting 10,000 new suburban units in limbo

Acounty plan that would allow housing developers to pay their way around restrictions on greenhouse-gas emissions looks increasingly to be on shaky legal ground.

The Sierra Club has challenged the plan in court as part of its longstanding fight with the agency over its so-called climate action plan.

A superior court judge issued a tentative ruling in the case on Thursday scolding the Board of Supervisors for its strategy to recognize the purchase of carbon offsets anywhere in the world, rather than forcing home builders to limit climate pollution locally.

The offset strategy doesn’t comply the county’s 2011 general plan, which called for drafting a climate blueprint to reduce emissions within its jurisdiction, wrote Judge Timothy B. Taylor.

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