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Griffith Park Users, Residents Fear Spills, Traffic : Pipeline Plan Hits Gusher of Protest

December 19, 1985|THERESA WALKER | Times Staff Writer

The proposed route of an underground crude-oil pipeline that would cut through Griffith Park on its way to oil refineries in the Los Angeles basin has drawn sharp criticism from park enthusiasts and area residents.

Some of the protesters who spoke at a public hearing last week on the proposed Angeles Pipeline cited fears of pipeline explosions and oil spills. Others were worried about the inconvenience of having traffic disrupted along heavily traveled Los Feliz Boulevard--where the pipeline would run--during construction.

'Six Feet of Oil Around My Neck'

"I'd hate to see Griffith Park spoiled by an oil spill," said Marty Tregnan, president of the Los Angeles Municipal Golf Assn. Referring to Harding Golf Course, one of two Griffith Park courses near the proposed pipeline route, Tregnan added, "I don't want to be on the second hole of Harding with six feet of oil around my neck trying to swim out."

The proposed 130-mile pipeline, which would be built by a consortium of four oil companies, is intended to move oil drilled off the coast of Santa Barbara County to refineries in El Segundo, Carson and Long Beach. The estimated $225-million project is expected to transport up to 330,000 barrels of crude oil a day to Los Angeles refineries. The consortium was formed by Atlantic Richfield Co., Chevron Corp., Shell Oil Co. and Texaco. The pipeline would be buried three to four feet in the ground.

T. W. Shettler, environmental and permit manager for the consortium, said at the hearing that a pipeline is needed to transport oil to meet industry demand. Officials in Santa Barbara County are trying to decrease the number of oil tankers that cruise the Santa Barbara coast and a pipeline is the preferred means of carrying the oil to Los Angeles refineries because it is safer than trucks and cheaper than rail, he said.

The hearing was one of three held last week to gather public comment for state and federal environmental reports on the proposed pipeline. It followed others in Newhall and Gardena, two communities near the northern and southern ends of the Los Angeles County part of the proposed pipeline.

The California Department of Transportation, which held the hearing at John Marshall High School, and the U.S. Forestry Service are overseeing preparation of the environmental reports, which should take about a year. The two government agencies must approve the oil consortium's plans before work on the pipeline can begin.

Traffic on Los Feliz Boulevard

But those residents of northeast Los Angeles who spoke at Thursday's hearing were not enthusiastic about the proposed pipeline.

Sol Fingold, a Los Feliz homeowner, was concerned about what construction of the pipeline would do to traffic on Los Feliz Boulevard, a major artery to and from Griffith Park.

"I can visualize half of that boulevard inoperative for a good deal of the time," Fingold said. "Where is the traffic going to go . . . down the narrow side streets?"

Richard Adams, president of the Elysian Valley Homeowners, Property Owners, Renters and Businessmens Assn., offered another solution for getting the oil to the refineries cheaply and quickly. "Why don't you move the refineries?" Adams suggested.

Southern California Pipeline estimates that, in urban areas, the pipeline should be installed at a rate of one mile per 15 working days. Construction along a typical city block is expected to take five to 10 days from excavation to completion, Shettler said at the hearing. He said his company hopes to start work on the project in mid-1987 and complete it within 18 months.

The company will take steps to prevent oil leaks or other accidents, Shettler said. The 30-inch, steel pipeline would be monitored 24 hours a day by a computer system and tested for pressure on a periodic basis, he said. It also would be coated with a corrosion preventive, he said.

Were the oil to leak and erupt to the surface, Shettler maintained, it would not be a volatile situation: "If you have an upset condition on the line, you're going to have a mess on the street, something you're going to have to clean up. It's not something likely to explode or burn."

January Meeting Planned

Caltrans plans to hold another meeting in January to form a citizen's advisory committee that will hold public hearings on a monthly basis to keep the public informed on the status of the project, said Ken Steele, a Caltrans deputy district director. Any interested people will be considered for membership on the committee, Steele said.

Caltrans also is accepting written comments for inclusion in the environmental reports through Dec. 31. Steele said detailed information on the proposed pipeline is available in Room 1600 at Los Angeles City Hall and at Glendale's Public Service Department.

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