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Environmental groups brace for Downtown NFL stadium fight

June 22, 2010 |  5:52 pm

Call it a pre-season scrimmage.

A group of environmentalists is putting on the pads to blitz against any possible state exemption from environmental laws for a football stadium being discussed for downtown Los Angeles, even though no such legislation has been introduced.

The nonprofit Planning and Conservation League has begun circulating a letter asking people to sign up to oppose any future legislation that might grant the Anschutz Entertainment Group an exemption from the state’s environmental laws for a stadium being talked about near the Los Angeles Convention Center.  The letter, supported by groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, says such action would set a bad precedent and is not necessary.

The league predicts that backers of an L.A. football stadium may argue that an exemption is justified because the state Legislature last year granted a waiver to a football stadium proposed by developer Ed Roski Jr. in City of Industry.

"It wasn’t a good idea then," said Tina Andolina, legislative director for the League. She said one big difference is that Roski had conducted an environmental impact report on his project, whereas none yet exists for a downtown L.A. stadium.

As for the fact that no bill exists yet, Andolini said there is enough talk about such legislation in the halls of the Capitol to convince her it is serious. "Our goal is to stop it before it gets any traction," she said.

A football stadium is being considered, according to Michael Roth, a spokesman for AEG. "This project is still in the early stages and all alternatives are being researched and evaluated," Roth said.

But Roth said he would not comment on any "speculation" about legislation. "We haven’t said we’re doing any of that," he said. 

-- Patrick McGreevy

[Updated, 5:40 p.m.: An earlier version credited this post to Anthony York.]

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