At the Los Angeles Convention Center on Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown announces a new law that will help speed AEG’s plan to build an NFL stadium downtown. (Katie Falkenberg / For the Los Angeles Times / September 27, 2011)

By Kate Linthicum and Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times
September 28, 2011

Tim Leiweke, the chairman and chief executive of Anschutz Entertainment Group, stood in front of the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center on Tuesday and told a roaring crowd: “Tear it down!”

The order was a bit premature, given that Leiweke will probably have to wait until June at the earliest to break ground on the 72,000-seat NFL stadium that AEG hopes to build at the site.

Still, the massive project inched closer to execution Tuesday when Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a controversial bill that limits lawsuits that could delay it. Speaking at a news conference with Leiweke, labor leaders, a gaggle of lawmakers and two high school football teams, Brown said California’s high unemployment demands “big ideas and big projects.”

Along with the stadium legislation, he also signed a similar but more far-reaching bill that grants certain large construction projects faster judicial reviews of environmental issues. Both bills are focused on “cutting red tape all over the state,” Brown said. “There are too many damn regulations.”

But not everyone cheered Brown’s move.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors said public and nonprofit projects should also be eligible for expedited judicial review. And the environmental community has found itself divided over the bills, even though both require projects to include green features.

The stadium bill was supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council but opposed by other environmental groups, including the Sierra Club.

Kathryn Phillips, the Sierra Club’s California director, said the governor and Legislature are “flailing” about in an attempt to find ways to create new jobs but have chosen the wrong method.

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