The state Legislature on Friday approved a special legal process for a proposed 72,000-seat football stadium in downtown Los Angeles, and also started to expand the exemption from protracted environmental court challenges to other big projects.
The Senate passed SB 292, to fast-track challenges against Anschutz Entertainment Group's stadium, by a 32-7 vote. The bill passed the Assembly earlier this week and goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has not spoken publicly about it.
Advocates said the stadium would be environmentally friendly and could create more than 20,000 jobs. "We can provide an economic stimulus by massive job creation which protects out environment," said Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima).
AEG officials argued that they needed the 175-day limit on the duration of lawsuits to ensure the NFL and investors that the project would not be mired down in years-long litigation. A competing stadium proposal in the City of Industry won a last-minute environmental waiver from the Legislature in 2009.
Moments earlier, the Senate passed another bill that would allow other projects that cost more than $100 million to gain the same special treatment. The developments must be certified as environmentally friendly.
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said the bill he co-sponsored is aimed at reducing the state's 12% unemployment rate while upholding its tough environmental laws.
"We all agree we have an obligation to do everything in our power to try to help to put Californians back to work," Steinberg told his colleagues. "This bill is maybe our boldest effort yet to try to do that. "
The wider bill, AB900, now goes to the Assembly.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: Illustration of the proposed Farmers Field in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: AEG