July 28, 2016: The Zoning Administrator ruled AGAINST Freeport McMoRan Oil and Gas’s (FMOG’s) proposal to install a CEB 800 natural gas burning flare to burn 400,000 cubic feet of gas per day in the parkland at the Murphy Drill Site at 2126 W Adams Blvd. FMOG has filed an appeal to try to overturn the decision. Here are the basics of what you need to know, how to find out more, and what you can do, followed by a more detailed discussion of key elements of the case.
The most important things that you can do are:
Let Council President Wesson hear your voice: Write, call, and request meetings with Council President Wesson and his staff. Letters by US mail or fax are more effective than emails. Write to Mr Wesson at 1819 S. Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90006. Or fax to 323-733-5833. If you do email Mr Wesson (firstname.lastname@example.org) it is necessary to also cc the email to one or more of his deputies, such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or any other staffer in his office you might know. Be sure to put “Murphy Drill Site” or something similar in the subject heading. Following up with a phone call after sending a letter or e-mail lets elected officials know you are staying on the issue. The Field Office phone number is 323-733-8233.
The ZA’s Ruling Against FMOG
In his ruling issued on June 30, 2016, Zoning Administrator (ZA) Charles Rausch of the Los Angeles Department of City Planning declared in strong language that installation of a flare for the first time ever at the Murphy Drill Site would constitute “an industrial use” that belongs in an “industrial zone not in an R4 residential zone.” Mr Rausch also argued that an environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) should have been performed.
FMOG filed their appeal of this decision on July 14, 2016. They wish to reverse the decision to allow installation of the flare and evade environmental review under CEQA.
The appeal will be heard by the South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission (APC), possibly in late August, more likely in September. The South Los Angeles APC must provide at least 24 days advance public notice before the hearing date.
Jefferson Park United will notify residents when the appeal date is announced, and we will continue to post more information on our website as it becomes available.
Meanwhile, now is the time to learn more and begin to take action.
Jefferson Park United has posted online almost all the major documents from the origin of the case to the present.
Over the past three years, many residents and the UNNC Neighborhood Council have written letters to the ZA. Just as importantly, we also wrote, called, and discussed the case in person with City Council President Herb Wesson on a regular basis. We used evidence to prove our contentions about the inappropriateness and wastefulness of the flare, and also to demonstrate deficiencies and contradictions in FMOG’s application.
As a result, we persuaded Council President Wesson to oppose the project. We think this same use of calm rational argument and evidence swayed the ZA to oppose installation of the CEB 800. Getting the ZA to reject a proposal from an oil company was an unprecedented achievement.
But we need to remember that in politics and other struggles it is almost never enough to make an argument just once. It is almost always necessary to be persistent. Oil companies are nothing if not persistent. That is their right, but it is ours, too, and we need to exercise it if we want to have an effective say in shaping and protecting our community.
Stay Informed. Be Active!!!