Bradley's Role in Oil Drilling

April 03, 1985

Referring to Mayor Tom Bradley's most recent apologia for OKing drilling in the Pacific Palisades, it's significant that he made the remark "the plan is different this time" and that "their proposal has resolved a lot of the problems he had with it," before the City Council voted on it.

My sense of these remarks is that he wanted and looked for reasons to approve the plan long before he read the proposal. The fact of the matter is that nothing is new or different about the drilling plan. In fact, the Planning Commission said both before and after the decision was made by Bradley that it was unsafe then, it is unsafe now and nothing has changed about Occidental Petroleum's plans to drill except the ridiculous claim that they will indemnify the city in case of an accident, which is laughable if it weren't such a tragedy.

As for a drainage system, it always has been a possibility that we don't need Oxy to pay for. The city has the money and could install such a system any time. Why has everyone ignored the fact that "No Oil" has raised pledges to cover a drainage system from citizens of the Westside at any time?

It also seems rather punitive of Bradley to conclude that since other neighborhoods had oil drilling that the "affluent, politically influential Palisades should not be spared." I take that to mean that if there is one beautiful spot left in Los Angeles it should be brought down to the level of other neighborhoods that are not so beautiful. That way Los Angeles could be just one big toxic dump. I thought the ocean and the beaches were for everyone in Los Angeles.


Los Angeles

We, who were members of the Brentwood-Pacific Palisades Citizen's Advisory Committee (the group that drew up the Brentwood-Pacific Palisades Community Plan, worked for its passage by the Los Angeles City Council, and followed it through to the enactment of zoning ordinances which implement the provisions of the plan), are deeply distressed by the article written by Mayor Tom Bradley (Editorial Pages, Jan. 25), justifying his proposal of the Occidental oil drilling application.

The mayor states that "After weighing the issues which distinguish this application from the application in 1978, I made my decision based on the facts today." The mayor states that his conscience dictated that he approve the Occidental oil drilling application because there presently exist wells on the beach in Venice and in parks and residential neighborhoods of the city. However, those wells on the beach existed prior to any of the environmental safeguards in force today. The original drilling permits for the Venice beach were approved in the 1960s and the three additional wells recently approved for Venice by the California Coastal Commission make use of the existing site and equipment--scarcely a comparable situation.

The proposed Occidental site is not only on the beach, but at the toe of a landslide, next to the only north-south roadway along the coast, and in a residential and recreational area.

If the mayor did not encounter citizens who complain of the noise, odor and traffic generated by the operation of oil wells in residential areas, we can direct him to a number of active citizens' groups that have complained about such operations for years! The fact that little heed is paid to them does not mean that they do not exist.

The mayor states that the Occidental proposal to "dewater" the slope will make it more stable, yet in its 1978 application Occidental stated that such a dewatering system might make the slope more unstable and the final verdict from the experts is not yet in on this controversial and much debated contention.

The mayor also stated that Occidental has offered to indemnify the city for any damage that may be caused by the drilling, recognizing the possibility of damage, and yet the city attorney's office has publicly stated that it is doubtful (except under special circumstances) that a private company may legally bear the responsibilities normally borne by the city; nor can the applicant indemnify the city against the costs of suits brought in response to actions taken by the city.

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