Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

What's next for Farmers Field environmental review?

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When an environmental impact report lands with a 10,000-page thud, it’s usually the beginning of the debate, not the end. In the coming 45 days, politicians, environmental groups, and community activists will pore over the just-published document.

Some 72,000 fans could swarm the downtown area for a football game. The report estimates that about 15 percent of them would leave cars behind to get there, with another 3 percent of people walking or biking to Farmers Field. Everybody else will be in cars, which is the topline environment issue here.

Farmers Field particularly courted controversy last fall, when Sacramento lawmakers passed a special law, SB 292, just for this project. The state-required environmental review — this big document — was produced to conform with the law.

The amount of traffic at a football stadium is measured in trip ratio, which is the number of passenger cars that go to the stadium each year divided by the number of people who go. AEG is promising to attract 10 percent fewer cars than any other stadium.

SB 292 also places specific reporting and monitoring requirements on AEG and the city for five years, and gives the city the power to direct changes to AEG’s policies at the site.

The backers of the project have also promised to make the increased traffic carbon neutral. I don’t think they have to say how they’re going to do that in this document, but I am trying to figure that out. They’re supposed to offset the increased carbon emissions of cars with carbon reduction projects as close to the stadium as possible. 

They’re taking comments until May 21. A public meeting ("workshop") is planned from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday at the Convention Center.

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