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SOUTHEAST AREA : Oil Pipeline Project Facing Opposition


The Huntington Park City Council has gone on record against construction of a 171-mile oil pipeline linking Santa Barbara County to refineries in El Segundo and Wilmington because of economic and environmental concerns. The South Gate City Council is expected to consider similar action this month.

"There are people like me that are opposed to the pipeline because of environmental concerns," said Huntington Park Mayor Ric V. Loya. "I've seen too many situations where industry says everything is OK and it isn't."

Some council members opposed the pipeline because they feared it would interfere with the Alameda Corridor project, Loya said.

The Alameda Corridor project is a 20-mile freight rail line linking the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles with Downtown Los Angeles. The project, which includes a 30-foot rail trench in the center of Alameda Street, is expected to create about 9,000 jobs.

The Huntington Park council voted 5 to 0 last week to notify the state Public Utilities Commission of its opposition to the pipeline project.

South Gate City Councilman Larry Leonard has asked that a similar resolution be presented at the council's July 13 meeting.

"At this point, I'm leaning toward opposing the project because it doesn't make sense to dig a hole and put in the pipeline and then move it to put in the Alameda Corridor," Leonard said.

Officials for Pacific Pipeline Systems Inc. said the project would not interfere with the Alameda Corridor. "We're planning to install the pipeline along East Alameda," said Tom Rooney, an engineer with the company. He said the firm would seek other routes to ensure that the project would not hamper construction of the rail expressway.

Assemblywoman Martha E. Escutia (D-Huntington Park) has urged both cities to oppose the pipeline project.

"I represent communities that have already been saturated by environmental hazards. I frankly feel the proposed pipeline will upset and tilt the balance," she said. "My hope is that all the cities along the pipeline will oppose the pipeline and this will die in the PUC."

The commission is expected to decide by year's end whether the pipeline is environmentally feasible. If the commission approves the project, it would still require approval by each city involved.

The pipeline project is expected to cost about $215 million and create about 400 union-scale jobs to county residents.

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