AEG's stadium proposal adds greener measures after complaints
Anschutz Entertainment Group has agreed to add more specific pollution mitigation strategies to its proposal to build an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles after a harsh critique from an environmental group that has been a crucial supporter of the project.
After a monthlong mediation with the Natural Resources Defense Council, AEG has offered to devote at least 17.5% of its eventual carbon mitigation budget to funding local measures such as tree-planting and solar panel installations, attorney William Delvac said Monday.
The NRDC helped AEG's stadium bid secure an expedited process for resolving potential legal challenges from state legislators last year, but in May NRDC attorney David Pettit blogged that he was "disappointed to read that the promises made in Sacramento by AEG were not reflected" in the environmental plans.
Pettit wrote a sharply worded memo to city officials that called AEG's analysis of potential health risks from more traffic "essentially worthless."
Damon Nagami, a senior attorney for the NRDC, said the two groups have "come to a consensus" on the project's sustainability commitments.
"We've agreed in principle, but there hasn't been something in writing that's been approved," Nagami said.
Delvac said AEG could also ask other community groups and businesses if they have ideas that could reduce the stadium's carbon footprint. It was too early to know how much money they would spend on local mitigation programs, Delvac said.
The new language must be approved by the city Planning Department and is currently under review. An updated environmental impact report will be released and recirculated some time in August.
Labor groups, union representatives and spokespeople from area chambers of commerce reiterated their support for the proposal at a Monday meeting of the city's stadium ad-hoc committee.
But the mediation process left some groups unsatisfied. Becky Dennison, co-director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, a group of downtown residents, said the stadium excluded several affected neighborhoods from its analysis and focused too much on the Pico-Union neighborhood. Dennison also said she thinks the stadium's presence will push out lower-income downtown residents.
"We have received no response on our recommendations," Dennison said.
But Delvac said he's "confident" that the data don't support the group's conclusions.
AEG representatives say they hope a stadium will be operational in four or five years. The mitigation process allows AEG to try to eliminate potential sources of litigation before they can bloom into protracted court battles.
In addition, Senate Bill 292, signed into law last year, limits the length of any legal challenge to a Los Angeles stadium proposal to 175 days.
-- Frank Shyong at Los Angeles City Hall
Illustration: A rendering of AEG’s downtown Los Angeles stadium. Credit: AEG