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Legislature Approves Bill Related to New Oakland A’s Ballpark

Oakland A's

California legislators approved a bill that allows the Oakland A’s to receive an expedited judicial review process if a new ballpark project faces a legal challenge over environmental concerns. 

The A’s are continuing their evaluation of sites in Oakland for a new ballpark, focusing on the waterfront Howard Terminal and the Oakland Alameda-County Coliseum property. No final decision has been made as to which site the team will pursue, but the bill approved by California lawmakers would make it easier for the A’s to keep the ballpark project on track.

Under the terms of the bill, any lawsuit against the A’s over environmental concerns from a new ballpark project would have to be resolved within 270 days. As noted, the team has not made a final decision on its site, but the bill has particular implications for Howard Terminal. While the Coliseum has already been subjected to thorough environmental testing and is believed to not be as prone to a legal challenge, Howard Terminal will require a full environmental impact report under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). If a proposal at Howard Terminal were to be met with a legal challenge, this legislation would mandate a faster resolution and give the A’s more certainty about the timeline for constructing a new ballpark. More from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Under the legislation, the stadium and adjacent buildings at the Howard site must adhere to a host of environmental standards, such as maintaining net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and boosting the number of fans who travel to games by public transit.

The Senate approved the bill 33-0. The Assembly passed it 60-2.

A’s President Dave Kaval said the legislation “ensures we can stay on track” to complete ballpark construction by 2023.

“This is the key piece,” he said. “It’s really critical for having a project that meets its dates and opens on time.”

Approval of such legislation is not uncommon for certain development projects in California, including new professional sports facilities. In fact, legislators also voted on Friday to approval a similar bill for a proposed Los Angeles Clippers (NBA) arena in Inglewood. California governor Jerry Brown has until September 30 to make his decision on the legislation.

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