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Palisades Oil Drilling Foes Join Forces

December 22, 1987|SCOTT HARRIS | Times Staff Writer

Turning up the heat on Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and several council members, opponents of Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s plans to sink wells beneath Pacific Palisades announced the formation of a citywide alliance of environmental and homeowner groups opposed to the drilling plan.

The alliance is lobbying for Bradley and additional council members to join in supporting an ordinance that would repeal the city's earlier approval of the drilling.

That ordinance, authored by Councilman Marvin Braude and seconded by seven other council members, is expected to be considered by the council next month. Although it already has the eight votes needed for passage, 10 votes would be required to override a mayoral veto.

Supported by Bradley

Bradley, formerly an opponent of the drilling plan, reversed himself in 1985 and became a supporter, citing economic benefits and the belief that it would be safe. If Bradley vetoed Braude's ordinance, Robert Sulnick, president of No Oil Inc., declared, "he would not be the people's mayor. He would be Occidental's mayor." No Oil has been at the forefront of the battle against drilling in Pacific Palisades for 18 years.

If Bradley were to sign the proposed ordinance, it could kill the project.

In a press conference outside City Hall, Sulnick said Monday that the coalition wants to dispel any impressions that "our fight is a fight of elitist Palisades homeowners."

Opponents maintain that the drilling at the seaside site would be a blight and would pose an environment risk because of nearby earthquake faults and the susceptibility of a nearby bluff to landslides.

Occidental maintains that it can drill safely, would shield derricks with an attractive facade and would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for the city.

Occidental got a favorable ruling to drill from the the California Coastal Commission earlier this year, but the city has superseding authority.

The groups who formally allied themselves with No Oil include some that helped approve growth- limiting Proposition U and helped defeat the controversial Lancer trash-to-energy plant in the South-Central Los Angeles area.

The alliance includes the Coalition Against the Pipeline, Concerned Citizens of South Los Angeles, the Federation of Hillside and Canyon Assns., the San Fernando Valley Coalition, the Harbor Coalition Against Toxic Waste, Not Yet New York, and several neighborhood homeowners groups. Sulnick said the groups represented 2 million Los Angeles residents.

'Very Confident'

"I'm very confident that like Lancer and Proposition U, again we will change the posture of City Hall," said Laura Lake of Not Yet New York.

"We're concerned about uglification everywhere," said Lucille Lemmon, vice president of the Mt. Washington Assn.

In addition to focusing efforts on Bradley, Sulnick said lobbying efforts are especially aimed at Councilmen Nate Holden and Richard Alatorre, neither of whom have taken a stand on the Occidental drilling plan.

Council members who have gone on record as supporting Occidental's plans are John Ferraro, Joan Milke Flores, Robert Farrell, Hal Bernson and Gilbert Lindsay.

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