Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation granting Anschutz Entertainment Group the right to expedite legal challenges to a proposed football stadium in downtown Los Angeles.
The stadium bill, SB 292, was authored by two Democratic lawmakers from Los Angeles County, Assembly Speaker John Perez and Sen. Alex Padilla. It allows AEG to fast-track any legal challenges raised by stadium opponents under the California Environmental Quality Act. It also requires AEG to take additional steps to reduce the environmental and traffic impacts of the stadium, known as Farmers Field, on the surrounding neighborhood.
Brown also signed a bill giving the same right of expedited review for other major construction projects selected by his office. That bill, AB 900, was authored by Assemblyman Joan Buchanan, D-San Ramon and Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.
“It’s time for big thinking and big projects that put Californians back to work,” Brown said at the signing ceremony held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
“Projects like Farmers Field can create thousands of jobs during a tough economic time, so it is imperative for the state to cut the red tape that could delay projects like this for years,” Brown added. “These bills strike the right balance between protecting our environment and kick-starting jobs and investment in California.”
Besides building the football stadium, AEG plans to tear down the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center and build a replacement hall nearby.
Environmentalists initially opposed the stadium bill when it was unveiled on Sept. 2, saying the mitigation measures were insufficient and that the legislation set a precedent for exemptions to CEQA. But after negotiations, two major environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the California League of Conservation Voters, dropped their opposition and the bill cleared the Legislature.