When it comes to traditional sports facilities, the only thing “green” is the playing field. Construction of conventional stadiums typically involve massive amounts of steel, timber, and other depleting raw materials, while facility operation and maintenance require tremendous volumes of water and electricity for purposes of irrigation, flushing, ventilation, lighting and heating. The sporting events themselves also add fuel to the fire by attracting millions of fans whose transport activities contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and who produce mountains of waste while enjoying the games. Further, the artificial turf installed on the playing fields has been recently subject to government scrutiny, including possible violation of California Proposition 65, for containing an unhealthy amount of lead. In other words, when it comes to sporting facilities and the environment, the grass hasn’t always been so green.
Currently, there are no regulatory schemes in place requiring the construction of “green” or sustainable sports facilities. While some states maintain environmental policy acts, such laws only mandate a state agency to publicly disclose an environmental impact report evaluating a governmental project’s potential harm to the environment, but do not force the state agency to implement any action. In fact, environmental statutes typically do not prohibit a state agency from approving a particular project even if it has adverse environmental effects.
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