Assembly Bill 2840 should be spiked by the Legislature

If approved by the California Legislature, Assembly Bill 2840, introduced by Asm. Eloise Gomez Reyes, D-San Bernardino, will go down as a case study in unintended negative consequences.

The bill, which has been amended several times, would restrict the ability of Riverside County and San Bernardino County, as well as any city government within those two counties, from approving certain logistics centers unless they meet prohibitive requirements.

Those requirements include a “minimum setback on the qualifying logistics use of 1,000 feet” from specified locations or mandates that would achieve similar benefits and would impose labor mandates, including a “skilled and trained workforce” requirement.

On balance, what this would do is restrict where logistics centers and related developments (which could include housing) could be built and would increase the costs of such developments (which in turn are inevitably passed on to consumers).

In turn, this would push logistics centers further away from the ports, thereby increasing vehicle miles traveled, and thus nullifying at least some of the supposed environmental benefits of such a bill.

Coupled with the unjustified intrusion of the state into local government authority, this bill manages to get nothing right and everything wrong.

The Inland Empire has been a vital region for Southern California’s — and by extension, the nation’s — supply chains. Close in proximity to the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, with considerable and relatively inexpensive land, the region has hosted a booming logistics sector for many years.

With the rise of e-commerce and growing demands for the direct delivery of consumer goods, logistics centers which sort, store and help distribute goods are as needed as ever.

Of course, the growth in warehouses over time in the Inland Empire has sparked some backlash.

Community groups and environmentalists will often complain about the perpetual presence and environmental impact of trucks and massive facilities.

It’s this sentiment that AB 2840 is appealing to. But the proposed remedy will do more harm than good.

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That’s why the bill has managed to unite a vast coalition against it. From business groups to labor groups to the local governments impacted by the bill, it’s simply a bad piece of legislation.

Worst of all, it gives the false impression that there aren’t already plenty of governmental bodies and mandates overseeing and regulating the logistics sector.

From the California Environmental Quality Act to local government oversight to CARB to AQMD, there are already more than sufficient checks on logistics centers and mechanisms by which legitimate environmental harms can be mitigated and controlled for.

Rather than stumbling into costly unintended consequences, stifling economically beneficial developments, driving up the cost of goods and keeping trucks on the road for longer, AB 2840 should be shelved for good.