In 2009, the California legislature gave billionaire Ed Roski an exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (commonly known as “CEQA”) to construct a new football stadium in the City of Industry. That meant that a judge could never rule on whether the environmental review for this huge project complied with California law. I blogged about what a bad idea this was here.
The argument that carried the day was that the CEQA exemption was needed to create jobs. Majestic Realty Co., of which Roski is CEO, estimated that the stadium project would create over 12,000 construction jobs and 6,735 permanent jobs. The website for the stadium, which apparently hasn’t been updated recently, claims that “If approved by the City, construction may begin as early as Fourth Quarter 2008.”
I wanted to see for myself how this construction project was going, so the other day I drove to the site to take a look. Here is what I saw:
Where are the 12,000 construction jobs? As far as I could tell, nary a shovel has been turned on the site. The only use appears to be as a dumping ground for dirt. Where is the stadium? Where are the 6,735 permanent jobs? Where are the 75,000 fans? The only spectator I could see was this one:
I think that what this shows is that the notion that environmental review is a job-killer is bogus. Realistically, nothing is going to be built on that site until the NFL gives Los Angeles a team. The California legislature fell for the fumblerooski in thinking that giving Roski a free pass from CEQA would make a difference.
What's worse, Roski's success has emboldened others to run to the Legislature to cut special deals exempting projects from CEQA. NRDC and our allies will fight those efforts because the notion that environmental review is a job-killer is as empty as Roski's stadium site.