Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, opposing a controversial crude oil pipeline that would run underground through Los Angeles and 12 other cities, Friday said he believed that official Los Angeles opposition to the project will render it "dead."
In a City Hall press conference, Bradley cited air pollution and traffic disruption during construction as his main objections to the $225-million project. The pipeline would carry up to 330,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Kern County to refineries in the Los Angeles Basin.
A consortium of Shell Oil Co., Chevron Pipe Line Co., Texaco Refining and the Four Corners Pipe Line Co., an Atlantic-Richfield Co. subsidiary, would build the proposed 135-mile pipeline. Supporters have said that the project is an economical way to transport the oil, most of which would be converted to gasoline for local motorists.
But Bradley said the problems of the project outweighed the advantages. "The health risks are such that I don't think we can afford that kind of cheaper transport of oil just for the sake of some of private industry making an extra buck," Bradley said.
If Los Angeles officials refuse to approve building permits for construction of the pipeline, Bradley said, "I feel confident . . . that the pipeline is dead."
As of Friday, 12 of the 15 council members polled by The Times-- Gloria Molina, Joel Wachs, John Ferraro, Zev Yaroslavsky, Ruth Galanter, Ernani Bernardi, Robert Farrell, Nate Holden, Marvin Braude, Hal Bernson, Michael Woo, and Richard Alatorre--have stated their opposition to the pipeline. It would follow a route from just south of Bakersfield to Sylmar, Glendale, Burbank, and into east, central and south Los Angeles.
The project has already been opposed by the cities of Burbank, Gardena, Bell Gardens, Carson, Glendale, Inglewood, Compton, Commerce and Culver City. Before the pipeline can be built, the companies must obtain federal and state permits as well as the approval of all cities and counties through which it would pass.
The group leading opposition to the project, Coalition Against the Pipeline, was pleased that Bradley came out against it. But some members said Bradley was pressured.
'Pressure From the Community'
"It was the pressure from the community. He wouldn't have done it otherwise," said coalition activist Michele Grumet after the press conference. The mayor acted, Grumet said, only after another coalition member recently told a Bradley aide that the group planned to hold a press conference later this month criticizing the mayor if he did not take a stand.
Bradley aide John Stodder denied that the mayor reacted to pressure. "We anticipated going in this direction," he said. "It's consistent with concerns we raised in a letter to (state) officials in May."
Allen F. Swanson, a Chevron executive and spokesman for the companies behind the proposal, said he is "sensitive of Mayor Bradley's concerns. But the announcement is premature. We would hope he and others would refrain from final judgment until the final environmental impact report is finished in late August or early September."
If the city holds to its opposition, Swanson said, increased supplies of crude oil would be transported by present means--trucks, marine tankers or trains, "which would cost more, and not be as beneficial as the pipeline in addressing long-term environmental and traffic concerns."
The pipeline would bring oil to Los Angeles from tanks that collect oil from Kern County wells and from oil taken from offshore near Santa Barbara and piped inland to Kern County.