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NFL Stadium Might Not Be Only Project Getting CEQA Workaround

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Developer AEG's quest to hustle its proposed Downtown NFL stadium through any potential litigation has taken kind of a crazy turn and has somehow morphed into a proposal to hurry things along for lots of big California development projects, instead of just the one. AEG's been up in Sacramento trying to get a bill through the state legislature that would expedite all legal challenges based on the plan's environmental review; the proposed NFL stadium in Industry got an even broader environmental lawsuit exemption back in 2009. The AEG bill, which would send any legal challenges directly to the state court of appeals to be ruled on within 175 days, breezed through the Assembly on Wednesday, but a lot of people wondered why AEG's project should be an exception to the California Environmental Quality Act, which mandates an environmental review process for most development projects. So instead of giving one project an exemption, some senators want to give lots of projects exemptions.

Yesterday, the day before the end of the legislative session, a bill was introduced that could speed up challenges to many expensive development projects, at least through 2015. Take it away, LA Times: "The new bill would require that legal challenges be resolved within 175 days for projects estimated to cost at least $100 million, if the governor selects them for such treatment during the next three years. The projects would have to win certification that they are environmentally friendly" (whatever that means!). AB900 would apply to "residential, commercial, sports, cultural, entertainment, renewable energy and recreational" projects as long as they were "on an under-utilized property in a developed area." Senators told the LAT that they'd probably only pass the AEG bill if AB900 is also passed.
· Bill would let governor protect large projects from lengthy challenges [LAT]
· AEG Wants to Trade Carbon Neutral NFL Stadium For Short Lawsuits [Curbed LA]