Court rejects challenge to Seattle arena plan

SEATTLE (AP) — A Washington appeals court says tentative plans for a new professional basketball and hockey arena in Seattle do not violate state environmental law.

Investor Chris Hansen has been trying to build a $490 million arena to draw the NBA and NHL to Seattle. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union sued, saying traffic congestion from basketball and hockey games would kill jobs because it would interfere with container shipping and related businesses nearby.

The longshoremen said a memorandum of understanding between Hansen and city and county officials violated the State Environmental Protection Act by creating irreversible momentum for building the arena, even before environmental studies were performed.

But a three-judge Court of Appeals panel unanimously disagreed Monday, upholding a lower court’s ruling from February. The panel says the memorandum merely sets out how the decision over whether to build the arena will be made.

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