Sports/entertainment company AEG has proposed to build a new football stadium in downtown Los Angeles. The stadium, if built, will be in an ideal location for accessibility by public transit and will create thousands of good jobs. NRDC supported the stadium project after AEG promised the California Legislature that the stadium would be carbon neutral and would have 10 percent more mode shift – people taking public transit instead of their cars – than any other football stadium in the U.S.
AEG and the City of Los Angeles recently published a draft environmental impact report (DEIR) for the stadium project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). I was disappointed to read that the promises made in Sacramento by AEG were not reflected in the DEIR. In particular, the DEIR does not commit AEG to any particular methodology to meet their carbon neutrality and mode shift promises; nor does it analyze the potential effects of some fairly obvious measures such as Hollywood Bowl-style park and ride and making a game-day ticket a free pass for public transportation on L.A.’s buses and light rail and the MetroLink trains, as the LA Times has suggested.
The DEIR also falls short in its analysis of sustainability or “green” measures, despite AEG’s public commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative that the stadium and the nearby LA Live development will be “the most environmentally responsible sports and entertainment district in the world.” The stadium project could, and should, do much better in terms of, for example, recycling, composting, using locally-grown food, and using renewable energy. This is all the more surprising because AEG operates Portland’s Rose Garden, a national leader in these areas.
Finally, AEG’s consultants made the odd choice of not analyzing the health risk from the many thousands of cars that will carry fans and employees to and from the stadium – despite the fact than the dangerous effects of automotive pollutants such as ozone, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide are well known.
NRDC submitted a formal comment letter under CEQA pointing out these and other areas in the DEIR that need to be fixed. If done promptly and correctly, fixing the DEIR should not hold up the opening of the AEG stadium. I hope to be there on Opening Day in a stadium that lives up to the promises that AEG has made.