Nearly 70 environmental groups have been warning California legislators not to let the owner of Staples Center off the hook when it comes to providing an environmental impact report for an adjacent NFL stadium the company hopes to build.

Leaders at the Sierra Club say they've heard rumors that a lawmaker will tack last-minute legislation allowing the company to skip its EIR onto an end-of-the-year bill. The Sierra Club is lobbying against such a move, arguing that it would prevent residents in the area around Staples from commenting on the potential impacts from such a project.

“All the info about the impact on the local community should be there at one time so the community members can comment on it,” Sierra Club advocate Michael Endicott told the Weekly. “This is why you don't write legislation to favor one commercial interest over everyone else's interest.”

Last year an NFL stadium proposed in the City of Industry received just such an exception from California Environmental Quality Act. And Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has a current proposal circulating that would exempt 125 projects — the Staples-area stadium is not one — from CEQA.

The downtown stadium would be built, in part, by Aschutz Entertainment Group, the company that runs Staples and LA Live.

The environmental groups last week circulated a letter to Sacramento lawmakers that makes their sentiments known.

“We can make sure than any potential author knows how we feel about the project,” Endicott said. “Peole who have lots of money can hire a lobbyist and get an exemption instead of going through the process. The general public only gets to play by the rules.

We don't think these project-by-project exemptions are appropriate.”

LA Weekly