A last-minute bill to expedite environmental review on a downtown Los Angeles football stadium may pave the way for similar exceptions on other construction projects, including a downtown arena in Sacramento.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is talking with Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Gov. Jerry Brown about a companion measure to accelerate judicial review for alternative energy manufacturing plants, clean energy projects and urban infill, including sports stadiums, according to sources who would not be named because negotiations are ongoing.
As with the Los Angeles stadium proposal, Senate Bill 292, the broader legislation would allow developers to ask state appellate courts to review environmental challenges on a shortened timetable. Under SB 292, the Los Angeles-based 2nd District Court of Appeal would issue a decision on a stadium challenge within 175 days, cutting 100 days or more off the typical process, according to an Assembly analysis.
"I think the L.A. stadium project is very worthy," said Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat. "I also think this is a unique moment in time to do everything we can to focus on expediting existing processes to help our economy recover. There are a lot of productive discussions going back and forth."
Steinberg declined to discuss specifics.
Anschutz Entertainment Group has proposed a $1.3 billion NFL stadium adjacent to the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Some environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, offered conditional support Tuesday after negotiating changes to the bill. Others such as Sierra Club California remain opposed because they say AEG is getting special treatment in the closing days of the legislative session.
The companion measure Steinberg is seeking would authorize the governor to decide which projects qualify, using environmental targets such as low carbon emissions as criteria, according to a legislative source. The proposal would fast-track projects that include farms generating wind power, electric car factories and downtown sports complexes.