Yesterday, the top policy advisor to the Los Angeles City Council, Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry F. Miller, recommended that the City Council oppose any attempts to relax state environmental rules for AEG’s proposed NFL stadium project in downtown Los Angeles. Miller endorsed a Council resolution, introduced by Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Bill Rosendahl in February, that would instruct the City’s lobbyists to fight any legislation that would thwart the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process.
This adds yet another influential voice to the growing chorus of L.A. politicians and policymakers who recognize the importance of CEQA in protecting the environment and our neighborhoods. The list is long and growing everyday:
- Chief Legislative Analyst Miller’s recommendation: “[I]t is appropriate to oppose any legislation that would subvert or accelerate the CEQA process for a proposed NFL stadium in Downtown Los Angeles.”
- Councilmembers Krekorian and Rosendahl’s resolution: “[T]he CEQA process provides vital, holistic analysis of development proposals – analysis that the City Council requires to have a full and complete debate about those proposals.”
- Councilmember Krekorian: “I just think before we go to extreme lengths to make this [stadium project] happen that we do our due diligence to understand the environmental impact, the traffic impact, the economic impact, the economic stimulus ... on something that’s going to impact Los Angeles for the next half-century.”
- Councilmember Jan Perry: “There is no need to eliminate the CEQA process.”
- Council President Eric Garcetti also believes the project should not be exempted from CEQA.
CEQA is the backbone of California environmental law, requiring developers to conduct a thorough review that examines a project’s impacts, considers reasonable alternatives, and mitigates for environmental harm. As my colleague David Pettit and I have said before, exemptions from CEQA are the wrong way to go. There’s no reason why a developer like AEG shouldn’t be held to the same standards as any other developer in the state. We are encouraged that a growing number of the City’s most prominent political leaders seem to agree.