South Gate : New Pipeline Route Prompts Council to Delay Judgment

The City Council voted last week to delay its opposition to the Pacific Pipeline after project officials said they could alter its route so it would not interfere with the Alameda Rail Corridor.

The city had prepared a resolution opposing the project, a 171-mile crude-oil pipeline linking Santa Barbara oil fields to refineries in Wilmington and El Segundo, on the grounds that it could pose environmental and safety hazards and interfere with the freight rail corridor.

Construction of the Alameda Corridor, a 20-mile freight line that would link the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles with downtown, is expected to create 9,000 jobs.

Under the original proposal, the pipeline would be laid along the city's western border. The new plan calls for shifting the pipeline about 20 feet to run under East Alameda Street. The $215-million project is expected to create about 400 union-scale jobs in Los Angeles County.

Council members voted 5-0 to investigate the effect of the pipeline's new route before considering the resolution.

However, some area officials said they will continue to oppose the pipeline. Huntington Park Mayor Richard V. Loya told the South Gate council that because of the potential environmental and safety risks, his city will oppose the pipeline project.

"With the number of schools along the line, we feel it is not the way to go," Loya said.

Pacific Pipeline Systems Inc. officials said the project includes technology to guard against spills. The pipeline will be "environmentally sound and can be built and operated with complete safety," said Tom Rooney, project engineer for Pacific Pipeline.

The pipeline has been opposed by the Los Angeles and Huntington Park city councils and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The California Public Utilities Commission is expected to decide by the end of August whether the project is environmentally sound and hear more testimony before making a final decision.

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