Decisions are at least a month away on two city permits sought by Occidental Petroleum in its controversial bid to drill for oil in Pacific Palisades, chief zoning administrator Franklin Eberhard said Monday.
About 150 people had crowded into the Felicia Mahood Senior Citizens Center in West Los Angeles on Saturday for a 10-hour public hearing on Occidental's request for approval of its methods and conditions for operating the drill site and for a coastal development permit.
The hearing was the latest battleground in a 15-year war that Occidental has waged for the right to drill at a Pacific Coast Highway site at the base of the Palisades bluffs. In January, Mayor Tom Bradley, in a dramatic turnabout, gave his long-withheld approval to the company's plans.
Saturday's testimony was marked by repetition of both sides' arguments. City Councilmen Marvin Braude and Michael Woo, State Sen. Herschel Rosenthal (D-Los Angeles), Santa Monica Mayor Christine Reed and a representative of Assemblyman Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica) all said the drilling would be unsafe. Actor Walter Matthau and representatives of No Oil Inc., a civic group fighting Occidental, also spoke against the firm's proposal.
Occidental attorneys denied the allegations. And a number of the company's supporters--most of them elderly Palisades property owners on fixed incomes--said they need the money they would get from mineral leases. They noted that the city is the largest lease-holder.
Eberhard said written testimony will be accepted by the zoning administrator's office this week.
The decisions by associate zoning administrators Jack Sedwick and Robert Janovici can be appealed to the Board of Zoning Appeals. The California Coastal Commission also will consider the coastal development permit.