A Superior Court judge today dealt Occidental Petroleum Corp. its second major setback in just over a week, by invalidating city ordinances authorizing the corporation's controversial oil drilling project in the Pacific Palisades.
Judge Norman Epstein ruled that a critical element of the project--the pipeline--had been subjected to inadequate environmental review.
The judge's decision, unless successfully appealed to a higher court, would require Occidental to start all over again a process of seeking approval for the massive project from the City Council. Occidental officials said the company would confer later to decide whether to appeal.
Epstein's decision is the second recent major setback for Occidental, which has been struggling for approval of the controversial project for nearly 20 years. Last Thursday, a city zoning administrator refused to issue a coastal permit to Occidental based on his view that the project was environmentally unsound. That decision could be overruled by the city's Board of Zoning Appeals.
3 Ordinances Invalidated
Epstein invalidated the three city ordinances that had paved the way for the project on the grounds that the environmental impact report prepared by Occidental and reviewed by city officials did not adequately address the safety of pipelines leading from the proposed drill site on the Palisades beachfront past schools and homes to refineries.