June 30, 2016: The Zoning Administrator denied FMOG's request to install a CEB 800 flare to burn 400,000 cubic feet of gas per day at the Murphy Drill Site on Adams Blvd. The ZA highlighted that the gas burner "...is not in the interests of the public’s health, welfare, and safety.”
The Zoning Administrator in the Murphy Drill Site case:
DENIED Freeport McMoRan Oil and Gas’s (FMOG) request to install a CEB 800 flare to burn 400,000 cubic feet of gas per day in the parkland at 27th Street and St. Andrews directly below the controlled oil drill site on Adams Blvd.
Agreed with the concerns and objections raised by hundreds of neighbors, the UNNC, and City Council President Herb Wesson.
ZA Charles Rausch issued his ruling in a letter dated Thursday, June 30, 2016:
Installation of a flare for the first time at the Murphy Drill Site would constitute “an industrial use” that belongs in an “industrial zone not in an R4 residential zone” (R4 designates the zone as allowing multi-family dwellings, schools, churches, and health care facilities).
He also acknowledged that the Drill Site located within the Jefferson Park Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) and next to the West Adams Terrace HPOZ is situated in a densely residential area and is surrounded by an apartment complex, a health clinic, single family residences, duplexes, a convent, UCLA’s world renowned Clark Library, and the LA84 Sports Foundation.
Indicated that this kind of project would require environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) if it were to be approved. However, since it has been rejected there is no reason for more review.
It is clear from the ZA’s letter that our community provided crucial evidence and testimony that made it clear that rejecting the proposed project would be the correct decision. This decision is evidence of the importance of sustained community involvement and Mr. Wesson’s responsive and responsible support of our community.
The ZA did not address the requests made by UNNC and Mr. Wesson for new review and safety conditions at the Murphy Drill Site. In particular, Mr Wesson and UNNC requested and made compelling arguments for the ZA to require:
- 24/7 monitoring gas emissions and mandatory periodic review of conditions on a 5 year cycle. Monitoring gas emissions is essential to public health and for fire prevention, and
- Additional conditions to protect our community.
We all need to continue to work with Council President Wesson to get the ZA to assign these new conditions to ensure the health and welfare of our community. If the Zoning Administrator will not assign the conditions, then City Council should pass an ordinance requiring protections at all oil and gas production and storage sites in the City.
UPDATE: From United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council: "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.
UNNC will notify residents when the appeal date is announced and discuss the appeal at its upcoming meetings in August.
Established in August of 2008 by writer, artist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.