Stop Illegal Oil Drilling in the City of Los Angeles
Los Angeles City Council; City Officials; Candidates in 2022 City Elections
...STOP ILLEGAL OIL WELL DRILLING IN THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES
You can help make that happen by signing this petition to support Neighbors for A Safe Environment’s (NASE’s) appeal for City Council to require environmental review at the West Pico Drill Site (9101 & 9151 W Pico Blvd, LA 90035).
On June 2, 2021, the Zoning Administrator (ZA) at the Los Angeles Department of City Planning issued a ruling that declares that illegal oil well drilling at the West Pico Drill Site (9101 & 9151 W Pico Blvd, LA 90035) can remain without review, penalties or safeguards. The Zoning Administrator disregarded laws that have been in place for many decades.
The ZA likewise ruled that numerous other health, safety, and environmental violations of City law do not matter. He openly contradicted himself by recognizing numerous ongoing serious violations but nonsensically ruled that the drill site was in “substantial compliance” with the law and regulations.
The ZA violated the most fundamental rules governing the case.
- The ZA violated the State’s California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by wrongly exempting the case from environmental review.
- And the ZA even violated the ZA’s own basic rule for the case: Condition 78 of the ZA’s 2000 approval for the drill site, which mandates that in the current review the ZA must “evaluate neighborhood impacts” and the “efficacy of mitigation measures.” The ZA openly refused to do that.
- Examining neighborhood impacts and mitigation measures are at the core of what CEQA is all about, and the documentary record of serious non-compliance shows that ZA-assigned mitigation measures to protect the public have failed.
Since the ZA issued his ruling, more CEQA errors have been committed by the City, and something worse has happened.
On December 11, 2021, there was an oil spill at the West Pico Drill Site that reached the surface, outside the drill site. The leak that caused the spill had been occurring underground for an unknown length of time.
The official reports on the spill and the Notice of Violation from the State regulatory agency, CalGEM, together with other documents make it almost certain that the cause of the oil spill was set in place as a result of errors in the 2000 ZA approval and was exacerbated by 20 years of non-compliance by the operating oil company and 20 years of negligence by the City.
There is a continuous line of errors and negligence by the ZA from 2000 through 2021 that connects directly to the oil spill and a long list of regulatory violations by the site operator that unduly and illegally put the community at risk.
The ZA’s ruling and his exempting of the case from environmental review means:
- The City will allow oil companies to freely ignore City laws and endanger neighborhoods.
- The City will allow oil companies to drill new oil wells without reviews or public hearings required by City law.
- The City will allow oil companies to ignore the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
- The City invites, protects, and even rewards noncompliance by oil companies.
This endangers all communities near all oil drill sites in the City, and the rest of the City, too, not just the communities around the West Pico Drill Site.
- The Zoning Administrator and the Department of City Planning do not have the right or power to destroy the law that protects the public.
- We demand that the City of Los Angeles follow the law and STOP illegal oil well projects and illegal oil production in the City.
Please sign this petition to support NASE's appeal that asks the Los Angeles City Council to overturn the Zoning Administrator’s issuance of an improper Categorical Exemption from the environmental review that is required by the State's CEQA law.
This is the next step in the fight to stop illegal oil well drilling in the City of Los Angeles.
NASE is a local non-profit (501C4) neighborhood organization formed to protect the community from the impacts of oil drilling and production. NASE has employed attorney Amy Minteer of Chatten-Brown, Carstens, and Minteer LLP to represent it in the appeal.
You can read a copy of NASE's appeal to City Council here. The appeal explains the dangerous and unlawful situation in detail.
A Public Hearing on the Appeal will be held by City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee at a date yet to be scheduled.
A hearing had been scheduled for December 7, 2021, but both NASE’s attorney and the oil company requested a continuance. The oil company requested a continuance until at least late February.
It takes patience to wait, but in this case patience has added the oil spill on December 11, 2021 and a raft of additional serious violations to the argument for a full and proper review of the case, starting with the environmental review under CEQA that is required by State law.
If you sign the petition your name will also be added to an email list for updates.
The most important time for the community to act is now, before City Council holds its hearing on the case.
Signing the petition and sending your own comment about the case to City Council will have an impact on Council Members before the hearing convenes, which is when they will be thinking about how to respond to the case. We will send you an email showing how to send your own message of support directly to City Council. It is easy to do and takes but a minute.
Los Angeles City Council; City Officials; Candidates in 2022 City Elections
From: [Your Name]
COVER NOTE TO CITY COUNCIL FOR CF 21-1025
Honorable City Council Members,
The petition below is being sent to support NASE’s appeal to City Council (CF 21-1025) concerning the improper and illegal Categorical Exemption from environmental review used by the ZA and the APC in their erroneous determinations on the West Pico Drill Site.
The petition was originally circulated in the Summer of 2021, during the run-up to the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission hearing of NASE’s appeal of the Zoning Administrator’s determination. It was addressed to the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission, Elected City Officials, and Candidates running in the 2022 City elections. It is updated now to be delivered to City Council for NASE’s appeal of the CEQA element of the case.
Objecting to the failure to require proper environmental review under CEQA and City CEQA guidelines was part of the petition. Our members also made these objections orally at the APC hearing in August 2021 and at the ZA hearings held in July and August 2020, as well as in numerous written comments to the ZA and APC.
NASE’s appeal to City Council addresses additional CEQA violations that were compounded by the APC’s decision at its August 2021 hearing, after the main circulation of this petition. The APC improperly wrote some new mitigation measures outside of the CEQA process and failed to make them specific and enforceable as required by CEQA. The APC , like the ZA, recognized the need for further mitigation and corrective measures but improperly deferred them for future reviews. And the APC further compounded the ZA’s segmenting of a single large project into multiple smaller projects that obscure and prevent reckoning with the full scope of significant impacts.
All of these actions violate CEQA, as NASE’s attorney Amy Minteer details in NASE’s statement of the case submitted to City Council. The Categorical Exemption is contrary to law and the review, findings, and determination given the entire case have been grievously flawed by errors.
We call upon you to grant NASE’s appeal and order the case to be sent back for proper environmental review under CEQA and then for a necessary new public hearing by a fresh ZA who will take a clean look at the entirety of the case and write a new determination.
The Pico Robertson Health and Safety Coalition
We Support Neighbors for A Safe Environment’s (NASE’s) Appeal to Overturn the Zoning Administrator’s Lawless Decision on the West Pico Drill Site (ZA-1989-17683-PA2-1A)
On June 2, 2021, the Zoning Administrator (ZA) in the Los Angeles Department of City Planning Department issued a ruling that openly declares that illegal oil well drilling at the West Pico Drill Site can stand unaltered, unreviewed, and without remedy. The ZA likewise ruled that numerous other health, safety, and environmental violations of City law and the ZA’s own Conditional Use Approval for the drill site do not matter.
The ZA recognized the rampant illegality but ruled that the West Pico Drill Site is and has been in “substantial compliance.”
Yes, the ZA said up is down and 2+2=5. He contradicted himself openly and without a fig leaf of embarrassment. He openly declared he did not need to follow City law governing the review of oil drilling and production. His ruling was lawless and illegal.
This is not just a danger to the communities around the West Pico Drill Site, but to all communities around all oil drill sites in the City.
Neighbors for a Safe Environment (NASE) has appealed the ZA’s ruling to the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission. NASE is a local non-profit (501C4) neighborhood organization formed to protect the community from the impacts of oil drilling and production.
• We, the signatories of this petition, support NASE’s appeal to overturn the entirety of the ZA’s dangerous and illegal decision.
• We call on the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission to study the case closely and thoroughly, and to preserve its jurisdiction over the case so that it is not rushed into hasty action.
• We call on all elected officials in the City of Los Angeles and all candidates running for elected office to demand that the ZA’s ruling be overturned and that the underlying Review of Conditions for the West Pico Drill Site be started again with clear instructions to obey all City and State laws and obligations, including those that require proper environmental review under the State’s CEQA law and the terms of the City’s 2001 Settlement Agreement with NASE.
• We insist that illegal actions, illegal oil well projects, and violations of health and safety regulations must be remedied with penalties, increased protections for the community, and equitable measures in the interest of good public policy (such as the plugging of illegal wells and idle wells).