LOS ANGELES -- Backers of a plan for an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles are formally beginning the project's environmental review process.
Lawyers for sports and entertainment firm AEG said in a letter to the city planning department Monday that the company would submit documents this week stating that an environmental impact report will be prepared for the project. The letter is a mandated first step toward fulfilling California's environmental protection laws.
Environmental groups have expressed concerns that AEG might seek state legislation protecting it from lawsuits over its environmental review process. Spokesman Michael Roth said the company hasn't yet decided if it will do so.
State lawmakers granted an exemption in 2009 for a rival stadium proposal near Los Angeles that nullified a lawsuit over its environmental review.
Meanwhile, representatives of unions, community groups and minority-owned business organizations are lending their support to plans for the downtown stadium.
The groups said at a hearing on the proposal Monday that the project would provide good jobs to builders during its construction and would offer positions at restaurants, concession stands and other spots once it's finished.
Some of the speakers at the hearing urged AEG to commit to using female- and minority-owned contractors and to hiring local workers.
Union representatives also had been supportive of a rival stadium proposal by warehouse developer Majestic Realty Co. about 15 miles east of Los Angeles.
Neither side has secured a team to play at its proposed venue.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press