The California Air Resources Board has granted fast-track approval to a proposed $1.2 billion Los Angeles Clippers arena in Inglewood that should allow the project to be finished in time for a 2024 basketball season.
After nearly a year of back-and-forth negotiations, CARB determined last week that the project will not result in a net increase in greenhouse gases and, thus, qualifies for special protections from environmental lawsuits that could otherwise stall construction for years.
“CARB staff conducted an evaluation of the GHG emission estimates and reduction measures submitted by the applicant, and confirmed that the applicant’s methodology, calculations and documentation are adequate,” wrote Richard Corey, CARB’s executive director, in a letter to the governor’s Office of Planning and Research.
Under the decision, any court case attempting to stop the arena will have to wrap up within 270 days.
Assembly Bill 987, a law passed specifically to move the Clippers project forward, required the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center to be net neutral and reduce 50 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions through local measures.
Electric vehicles, chargers, trees
The Clippers, owned by billionaire Steve Ballmer, will install 330 electric vehicle chargers at the arena, fund 1,000 residential chargers in the surrounding area, purchase two electric buses and 10 electric vehicles for Inglewood’s municipal fleet, and plant 1,000 trees as part of its agreement with CARB. The arena is expected to meet a Gold standard under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program.
The city’s government will be responsible for ensuring the Clippers ownership complies with the emission requirements for the life of the arena, according to CARB.
Attorneys for the Madison Square Garden Co., which owns The Forum adjacent to the new NFL stadium, have argued the focus on electric vehicle chargers is “illusory” because, as of 2018, Inglewood residents owned only 169 electric vehicles and others were not likely to purchase one because of the availability of a free charger.
MSG urged the governor to reject the application, claiming it falls short of the requirements under AB 987. The project will result in “4 million more cars per year and thousands of tons of harmful air pollution,” the company said in a statement.