NO OIL INC v. CITY OF LOS ANGELES

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Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 3, California.

NO OIL, INC., et al., Petitioners and Appellants, v. CITY OF LOS ANGELES et al., Defendants and Respondents.

Civ. 41619.

Decided: December 20, 1973

Brent N. Rushforth, Carlyle W. Hall, Jr., A. Thomas Hunt, Mary D. Nichols, John R. Phillips and Fredric P. Sutherland, Los Angeles, for petitioners and appellants. Lawler, Felix & Hall, Robert Heingson and William K. Dial, Los Angeles, for the Municipal defendants and respondents. Hanna & Morton, Harold C. Morton, Edward S. Renwick and Bela G. Lugosi, Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp and Arthur Groman, Los Angeles, for defendant and respondent Occidental Petroleum Corp. Evelle J. Younger, Atty. Gen. and Janet L. Chubb, Deputy Atty. Gen., amici curiae on behalf of petitioners and appellants. Hindin, McKay, Levine & Glick and Denis A. Glick, Beverly Hills, amici curiae in behalf of defendant and respondent Occidental Petroleum Corp.

Petitioners, No Oil, Inc., Pacific Palisades Property Owners Association and Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association (three nonprofit California corporations), appeal from a judgment in mandamus in favor of defendants, City of Los Angeles, its Mayor, its City Council, its Planning Commission, and its Office of Zoning Administration, and the Real Party in Interest, Occidental Petroleum Corporation. The judgment denies petitioners relief in this proceeding challenging the validity of the creation by ordinance by the Council and the Mayor of there informational oil drilling districts within the Pacific Palisades, an essentially residential area, without first requiring under the Environmental Quality Act of 1970 the preparation and consideration of an environmental impact report.

The Act compels such a report for all projects ‘which may have a significant effect on the environment.’ (Pub.Resources Code, § 21151.)1

Petitioners contend that the Act required the Council to cause to be prepared and to consider an environmental impact report before adopting the proposed ordinances creating the districts or at the least to declare that the temporary test drilling authorized by the proposed ordinances was not such a project as might have a significant effect on the environment. The council, although aware generally of its responsibilities under the Act in this connection, did not obtain such a report and did not make this type of negative declaration before adopting the proposed ordinances. It instead handled the matter solely as a zoning matter—a request for the establishment of three supplemental use districts under article I, chapter 3, of the City's Municipal Code. Petitioners assert that in so acting the Council violated the Act and the trial court therefore should have set aside the ordinances instead of denying petitioners all relief.

Our Supreme Court has stayed all construction and drilling operations of Occidental within the districts pending final determination of this appeal on its merits.

It should be emphasized at the outset of this opinion that the limited informational test drilling involving two bore holes permitted by the challenged ordinances will probably not last over ninety days and that production of oil and gas from these wells will not be permitted without prior amendment of the ordinances.2 Furthermore, all parties apparently concede that before such an amendment may be made, an environmental impact report must be prepared and duly considered. Aside from the additional expense involved, the chief reason why Occidental refused to agree to the preparation and consideration of such a report before the challenged ordinances were adopted appears to be that the delay thereby occasioned might have made the limited informational test drilling permitted by the ordinances subject to the then proposed Coastal Zoning Conservation Act, which has since become law.

Chronology.

On June 5, 1972, Occidental filed with the City an application for three oil drilling districts of about 594 acres in the Riviera field. In the application Occidental requested authority not only to drill for oil and gas but also to commence commercial production of the same. On June 26, 1972, an examiner of the City Planning Commission held a ten hour public hearing on the application. He subsequently filed a report recommending against granting it because of his belief that the commercial production of oil and gas might have adverse environmental effects. Upon consideration of the examiner's report the Commission's chief examiner and the City's planning director recommended to the Planning Commission that it approve the districts but withhold their submission to the City Council until Occidental had drilled two temporary geological exploratory core holes and the information from them had been submitted and evaluated by consulting geologists employed by the City.3

On July 20, 1972, after a brief public meeting on the application and the aforementioned staff reports, the Planning Commission by a divided vote in a written report to the City Council recommended approval of the three districts provided generally that only two bore holes were permitted therein and the ordinances creating the districts were required to be amended prior to any commercial production from the wells.4

On September 12, 1972, the Planning Committee of the City Council, which had before it the three previously-mentioned reports as well as Occidental's application, held a four hour public hearing on the application. At the conclusion of this hearing the Committee, by a divided vote, concurred in the Commission's recommendations regarding the disposition of the application.

On October 10, 1972, the City Council, having before it the three aforementioned reports and a brief written report from its Planning Committee, held a public hearing on the latter report. At the conclusion of this hearing the City Council approved by a vote of eight to seven its committee's report. Immediately thereafter, on first reading, it voted exactly the same way in favor of three proposed ordinances creating three informational oil drilling districts. On October 17, 1972, the Council, with the same written material before it, held a further public hearing and immediately thereafter adopted the three proposed ordinances by a vote of eight to six. On October 20, 1972, the mayor, with the same written material before him, signed the three ordinances.

On October 27, 1972, petitioners initiated the special proceeding before us. On December 29, 1972, the trial court, after taking evidence in the matter, referred the creation of the drilling districts back to the City Council so that, among other choices, the Council might, if it so desired, clarify its intent in adopting the proposed ordinances without the prior preparation and consideration of an environmental impact report. Specifically, the court wished to be advised expressly by the Council whether they did this because a majority of them then believed that the drilling and testing of the two bore holes may not have a significant effect on the environment (the City's position) or because the majority then believed that the written material then before the Council constituted, in effect, a sufficient environmental impact report in view of the extensive discussion in such material of possible environmental consequences implicit in permitting the limited test drilling in the field (Occidental's position).5

On January 8, 1973, the City Council held a public hearing on this referral and at the conclusion of the hearing adopted a resolution, recommended by a majority of its planning committee, declaring that at the time it had adopted the three ordinances it had believed that the activities permitted thereunder would have no significant effect on the environment.

The Issues and the Applicable Law.6

This proceeding was brought pursuant to section 21168.5 instead of section 21168 because the Council was not required by law to hold an evidentiary hearing before adopting the ordinances. Therefore the proceeding is in ordinary rather than administrative mandamus. (See Code Civ.Proc., § 1094.5, subd. (a).) The judicial review made pursuant to section 21168.5 is the same as that which California courts have historically made in ordinary mandamus. (See § 21168.7.)

Under section 21168.5 of the Act the sole questions before the trial court were: (1) whether the Council on October 17, 1972, proceeded in the manner required by law in adopting the ordinances creating the drilling districts; (2) whether this determination is supported by substantial evidence. We must also determine the first issue and whether the findings of the trial court are supported by substantial, though conflicting, evidence. (See Thompson v. Brown, 75 Cal.App.2d 344, 348, 170 P.2d 1010.)

In determining the first issue we must initially ascertain the meaning of the clause ‘which may have a significant effect on the environment,’ then determine whether, as a matter of law, the temporary informational oil drilling authorized by the ordinances is a project that may have such an effect, and finally decide whether the trial court's reference of the matter back to the City Council for a post-hoc declaration of its intent when it adopted the then proposed ordinances on October 17, 1972, constituted sufficient compliance with the Act.

Speaking generally, the law which must be applied to resolve these two questions is largely the Environmental Quality Act of 1970 as it existed generally before its amendment on December 5, 1972, and Friends of Mammoth v. Board of Supervisors, 8 Cal.3d 247, 104 Cal.Rptr. 761, 502 P.2d 1049, as modified on November 6, 1972.7 (See Caminetti v. Pac. Mutual L.Ins. Co., 22 Cal.2d 344, 353, 139 P.2d 908; County of Los Angeles v. Faus, 48 Cal.2d 672, 681, 312 P.2d 680.)

The Meaning of the Clause ‘Which May Have A Significant Effect On the Environment.’

Section 21151, as it read prior to its amendment in 1972 (see Stats.1970, ch. 1433, p. 2783), provided that local government agencies, not having an officially adopted conservation element of a general plan (such as the City), ‘shall make an environmental impact report on any project they intend to carry out which may have a significant effect on the environment . . ..'8 Under section 21060.5, as added by amendment in 1972 (Stats.1972, ch. 1154, p. 2271), the word ‘environment’ is defined in substantial part as ‘the physical conditions which exist within the area which will be affected by a proposed project.’

In Friends our Supreme Court held that this requirement of an environmental impact report extends to ‘private activities for which a permit, lease or other entitlement is necessary.’ (8 Cal.3d 256, 104 Cal.Rptr. 766, 502 P.2d 1054.) (Here, all parties concede that drilling permits from the city are necessary.) As originally filed, the decision in Friends also said that the term ‘significant effect’ includes ‘those activities which have any nontrivial effect on the environment.’ (Emphasis added.) (Fn. 10, 8 Cal.3d 24 (now superseded and omitted).) As modified this decision says in relevant part: ‘[I]n view of the clearly expressed legislative intent to preserve and enhance the quality of the environment (§§ 21000, 21001), the courts will not countenance abuse of the ‘significant effect’ qualification as a subterfuge to excuse the making of impact reports otherwise required by the act.' (Id., p. 271, 104 Cal.Rptr. p. 777, 502 P.2d p. 1065.) The court refused, however, to define the statutory clause ‘which may have a significant effect on the environment’ because such definition was unnecessary to the disposition of the issues in that case. (Id.)

We, however, must define this clause at least in substantial part in order to determine whether the Council proceeded in the manner required by law. If it was required, under the circumstances of this case, to cause the preparation of an environmental impact report and then consider the same before it adopted the ordinances, clearly it did not so proceed.

There are obviously only two words of uncertain contextual meaning in the clause. These are the verb ‘may’ and the adjective ‘significant’. We believe that the Legislature chose the word ‘may’ instead of the word ‘can’ in order to indicate that an environmental impact report is required under the Act where a reasonable, as opposed to a theoretical, possibility of significant effect on the environment exists.9 In the absence of any statutory definition of the adjective ‘significant’ we must turn to its popular meaning in the context in which it was used. (See Merrill v. Department of Motor Vehicles, 71 Cal.2d 907, 918, 80 Cal.Rptr. 89, 458 P.2d 33.) This meaning is ‘important.’ (See The Random House Dictionary of the English Language (1966) p. 1326; Webster's 3d New Int. Dictionary (1966) p. 2116.)

Putting our two definitions together, the clause ‘may have a significant effect on the environment’ means that a reasonable possibility exists that the proposed project may have an important effect on the environment.10

Petitioners point out that this is not exactly the meaning that the trial court gave to the clause11 and that the trial court's meaning was repeatedly brought to the attention of the Council before and at its hearing of January 8, 1973, prior to its declaration of the intent with which it had acted in adopting the then proposed ordinances the preceding October. This is true but without decisive consequence. The Council was also told at the hearing of January 8, 1973, that it should follow instead the proposed state guidelines in the matter. More significantly, the eight councilmen, who then voted for the resolution declaring the past intent of the Council, had during the early part of the immediately preceding month filed in this proceeding individual declarations under penalty of perjury stating their past intent in voting for the challenged ordinances in the exact language of the Act. Each of them stated in his individual declaration that each had voted ‘in favor of adopting the oil drilling districts because such projects were not projects which may have a significant effect on the environment.’ In view of these facts we do not believe that in declaring their past intent on January 8, 1973 the majority of the Council necessarily did so because such majority was misled by the meaning the trial court gave to the crucial clause in the Act.

May the Temporary Informational Drilling Authoriz By the Ordinances, as a Matter of Law, Have a Significant Effect On the Environment?

The trial court in this proceeding in ordinary mandamus took evidence on this issue. This was proper. (See Felt v. Waughop, 193 Cal. 498, 504, 225 P. 862; Lassen v. City of Alameda, 150 Cal.App.2d 44, 48, 309 P.2d 520.)

Petitioners' evidence, introduced in the trial court in support of their apparent position that this temporary informational drilling required a prior environmental impact report as a matter of law, consisted mainly of: (1) the written findings of the City's Board of Zoning Appeals in support of its aforementioned denial on September 30, 1970 of permission to Occidental to drill ‘one temporary geological exploratory core hole in a 90-day term period.’;12 (2) the evidence introduced by and through George J. Tauxe, a professor of soil mechanics at the University of California at Los Angeles; and (3) the evidence introduced by and through Paul A. Witherspoon, professor of geological engineering and former professor of petroleum engineering at the University of California at Berkeley.

The brief 1970 findings of the City's Board of Zoning Appeals related mainly to: (a) the danger of landslides being triggered by the requested drilling; (b) the possibility of the requested core hole rupturing and a blowout then occurring; and (c) the visual undesirability of the requested drill site. The expert testimony of the two faculty members was directed toward the possibility of the occurrence of the first two of these environmental hazards.

Petitioners offered no specific evidence in support of their claim of the third possible adverse environmental consequence. On the other hand, Occidental introduced colored photographs of other urban drilling sites in the Los Angeles Basin which appear to be entirely visually desirable.

As to the possibility of the temporary drilling permitted by the challenged ordinances triggering landslides, Mr. Tauxe testified that both proposed sites were in a landslide-prone area, the Entrada site being about 400 feet from a slide area, and the highway site being 150 to 160 feet from the toe of a 1958 slide. There have been no slides in the vicinity of the highway site since 1958, however, because the toe of that slide apparently stablized the bluff above it, and the aforementioned closest slide to the Entrada site occurred in prehistoric times. More importantly, an engineering seismologist, who had measured comparable oil drilling vibrations elsewhere in Los Angeles and had made vibration studies at the highway site, testified that the vibrations to be expected from the temporary drilling permitted by the ordinances would not be physically perceptible 150 feet from the drilling rig and would be but 10 to 20% as strong as those present in the hall immediately outside the courtroom where the trial of this proceeding was had. This expert witness opined that, assuming Mr. Tauxe was entirely correct in his characterization of the area in the immediate vicinity of the highway site as being definitely landslide prone, the contemplated drilling there could not produce vibrations that would trigger landslides.

Dr. Witherspoon testified regarding the possibility of blowouts occurring during the temporary drilling. He admitted that under modern drilling techniques the incidence of blowouts was ‘very, very low’, and that he was personally familiar with the petroleum geology of the Los Angeles Basin only ‘in a general sort of way.’ A petroleum geologist, an Occidental consultant who did the subsidence report in the Occidental drilling application and who had been the geologist on about 1500 wells, testified that if Occidental's proposed drilling program were adhered to completely and there was neither mechanical nor human failure there was no possibility of a blowout occurring. He pointed out that there have been no blowouts in the Los Angeles Basin since 1940. He admitted, however, that if all of several safety devices failed, a slight possibility of a blowout did exist. Occidental's Chief Petroleum Engineer testified that only a ‘remote possibility’ existed of a blowout occurring during the temporary drilling permitted by the ordinances. He called attention to the fact that the Marquez core hole had been drilled by Occidental in 1966 in this same oil field without any problems whatsoever. The City's petroleum geologist informed the Council early in January 1973 that blowouts had occurred at urbanized drilling sites within the city at a rate of two tenths of one percent.

On the basis of the foregoing evidence we cannot say, as a matter of law, that a reasonable possibility exists that the drilling and testing of these two informational bore holes may have an important effect on the environment.

The Council Proceeded In The Manner Required By The Act.

Petitioners contend that since Friends concluded that ‘the Legislature intended the E[nvironmental] Q[uality] A[ct] to be interpreted in such manner as to afford the fullest possible protection to the environment within the reasonable scope of the statutory language’ (8 Cal.3d 259, 104 Cal.Rptr. 768, 502 P.2d 1056), the Council, before adopting the proposed ordinances creating the informational drilling districts, should have made at the very least a written negative declaration describing the districts and their purpose, summarizing their possible environmental impact and explaining why no reasonable possibility then existed of significant environmental effect from them. In fact, petitioners appear to argue that this negative declaration should have included the material now required by the regulations subsequently adopted by the Secretary of Resources Agency on February 10, 1973. (See 14 Cal.Admin.Code, §§ 15033, 15080–15083.)

There is no doubt in our minds that section 21083, as added by the 1972 amendments (see Stats.1972, ch. 1154, pp. 2272–2273), authorized the Secretary to prescribe the requirement of a written negative declaration whenever a legislative body believes that a proposed project under consideration ‘may not have a significant effect on the environment.’ But this section, the criteria set forth therein and the Secretary's regulations clearly do not apply, as such, to this case since the City Council created these drilling districts before the 1972 amendments to the Act generally and the Secretary's regulations thereunder became effective.

Petitioners argue nonetheless that since these regulations constitute an authorized administrative implementation of the Act, they show that the Council should have required in this case the preparation of an environmental impact report and then full considered such report before adopting the proposed ordinances creating these drilling districts. We agree that this appears to be the law today (see 14 Cal.Admin.Code, §§ 15080–15082), but we do not believe that it was the law on October 17, 1972. There is a difference between what may be authorized under a statute and that which the statute requires without such implementation—even as liberally construed.

In our view no one should be obligated to comply with a course of conduct which has not as yet been prescribed or even articulated in final form.13 This is no more than a simple rule of fairness.

Petitioners would equate the necessity for a negative declaration with that for an environmental impact report. The proposed equation lacks balance. The Act has always expressly required an environmental impact report for all projects that may have a significant effect on the environment. On the other hand, even as amended in 1972, the Act does not itself expressly require a negative declaration. The report has been accurately characterized ‘as an environmental ‘alarm bell.” (County of Inyo v. Yorty, 32 Cal.App.3d 795, 810, 108 Cal.Rptr. 377.) The negative declaration, though, is simply not of statute equal to that of the environmental impact report. It has been administratively imposed to assure that, with respect to those proposed projects which are not categorically exempt from the requirement of a prior environmental impact report, there be something of public record disclosing generally the basis for the specific determination of the legislative body to exempt a proposed project from the report requirement.

Petitioners contend, however, that even if a negative declaration in its present form was not then required, the Council had to find expressly, prior to adopting the proposed ordinances, that the proposed temporary drilling and testing may not have a significant effect on the environment. According to petitioners the Council never did this.

We disagree. We think that the declaration of past intent adopted by the Council on January 8, 1973, stated more than the requisite statutory intent. Petitioners argue to the contrary. They assert that the trial court should not have referred the matter back to the Council for such a declaration, among other things, and that, in any event, a declaration of the type that was obtained was nothing more than a post-hoc rationalization similar to the environmental impact report found inadequate in Environmental Defense Fund, Inc. v. Coastside County Water Dist., 27 Cal.App.3d 695, 706–708, 104 Cal.Rptr. 197.

According to Keeler v. Superior Court, 46 Cal.2d 596, 600, 297 P.2d 967, the inherent power of a court to control the course of litigation before it includes the power to remand a case in mandamus for further administrative proceedings that are deemed necessary by the court for a proper determination of the case. Self-serving declarations of past intent are always suspect, but, as previously noted in part, in this case the declaration in issue merely confirmed in stronger language the prior individual declarations of a majority of the councilmen on the issue which had been phrased in the statutory language. The composition of both the Council and its majority on this issue had not changed and the challenged post-hoc declaration was entirely consistent with the earlier action the Council had taken. It is true that the Council in adopting the proposed ordinances made at that time no formal express reference to the Act, but their discussion at the time exhibited an awareness of the fact that under the Act an environmental impact report was first required if the proposed project may have a significant effect on the environment. We therefore hold that the Council in adopting the proposed ordinances (its intent with respect to the need for an environmental impact report having been clarified and made express by the court's subsequent reference of the question to it) acted in the manner required by the Act.14 We do not think that the liberal construction of the Act enjoined upon us by our Supreme Court compels us to hold otherwise. In this connection it must be remembered that ‘the law respects form less than substance.’ (Civ.Code, § 3528.)

Substantial Evidence.

On the basis of our examination of the approximately 734 pages of transcript of the four evidentiary hearings and the public meeting held by the City Council, the Council's Planning Committee, the Planning Commission and an examiner for the Commission and also the 56 page report of the examiner prepared on the lengthy hearing he held at the Pacific Palisades High School, we hold that there is substantial evidence (though conflicting) to support the trial court's conclusion that the Council had substantial evidence before it to sustain its determination that the temporary test drilling authorized by the proposed ordinances was not such a project ‘which may have a significant effect on the environment.’

Petitioners' Motion to Produce Additional Evidence.

We have before us petitioners' motion that we take additional evidence on this appeal pursuant to California Constitution, article VI, section 11, Code of Civil Procedure section 909 and Rule 23, subdivision (b), of the California Rules of Court. This evidence would come from personnel of the City Planning Department who participated in the determination which a committee of that department made that environmental impact reports would not be required for the two drill sites (Within the authorized drilling districts) proposed by Occidental. This determination was made after the challenged ordinances had been adopted by the Council and the Mayor. Although the trial court admitted some evidence as to the preparation, contents, filing and handling of the drill site applications (which were filed following the creation by ordinance of the three oil drilling districts at issue), it time and again stated in effect that the decisive issues before it were limited to whether the Council had acted in the manner required by the Act in adopting the proposed ordinances and whether the Council's determination to adopt them without the prior filing and consideration by it of an environmental impact report was supported by substantial evidence.

We have reviewed the pleadings and the law applicable to this situation—particularly section 21168.5—and hold that the trial court was correct in its definition of its scope of review of the administrative proceedings before it. We will therefore deny petitioners' motion that we take additional evidence on this appeal. We do so on the ground that the matters to be inquired into are outside the issues of this case. This view, however, requires that we appropriately modify the judgment.15 (See Code Civ.Proc., §§ 43, 909; Hart v. Merchants Trust Co., 120 Cal.App. 231, 234–235, 8 P.2d 162.)

Petitioners' motion for the taking of additional evidence on this appeal is denied. The paragraph numbered ‘4’ in the judgment is modified by striking from the third line thereof the words ‘defendants/respondents' and by substituting therefor the words ‘defendants/respondents City Councilmen and Mayor’ and by striking in the fourth line thereof the word ‘law’ and by substituting therefor the words ‘the Environmental Quality Act of 1970.’ As so modified the judgment is affirmed. The parties shall bear their own costs on appeal.

FOOTNOTES

1.  All section references, unless otherwise indicated, are to sections in the Public Resources Code that are a part of the Environmental Quality Act of 1970.

2.  The ordinances limit the testing to three tests per bore hole and each test may not be longer than four-hours flowing duration. The drilling and testing operations are also subject to the standard conditions imposed by the zoning portion of the City's Municipal Code governing urbanized drilling districts. (See art. III, ch. 1, subd. E.) They also will be under the supervision of the Division of Oil and Gas of the State Department of Conservation which imposes specific safety requirements once a notice of intention to drill has been filed with it.

3.  In 1966 Occidental, with the City's permission, had drilled in the Riviera field a successful core hole, known as the Marquez core hole, to a depth of 9,721 feet. This hole indicated the presence of oil-bearing strata at this depth. In 1970 the City's Board of Zoning Appeals denied to Occidental permission to drill another exploratory core hole in this field. This latter core hole appears to have been proposed for approximately the same location as the site of one of two bore holes involved here.The primary purpose of these two bore holes is to establish the size and probable yield of the Riviera oil field that Occidental discovered by drilling the Marquez core hole in 1966. The bore holes will also, however, provide information as to the possible environmental effects and safety of commercial production of oil and gas from the field. Occidental has invested in the field over two and one-third million dollars.

4.  The Commission also recommended that once the test drilling was completed Occidental should be required to submit all records of and information from such testing and from the Marquez core hole to two independent consultants competent in geology and engineering, selected by the City's chief administrative officer. These experts would then evaluate this date and present detailed written safety reports and recommendations to the City on subsidence and seismic possibilities attendant upon commercial oil and gas production from the field, the orientation and size of the potential oil reservoir, the possible drainage of oil thereby from the adjoining state tideland oil sanctuary, etc. These reports and recommendations together with those of the chief administrative officer would then be submitted to the Planning Commission and Council.

5.  The trial court also suggested to the Council that it might wish to receive additional evidence and then decide whether this additional evidence together with that received by it before it acted on October 17, 1972, constituted in substance a sufficient environmental impact report under the Act.

6.  All parties apparently concede, as the trial court expressly concluded, that the Environmental Quality Act of 1970 applies to charter cities such as Los Angeles.

7.  Some of the 1972 amendments to the Act are, however, applicable in this case. These include the definitions chapter within the amendments which is made applicable by section 17 of the amendments (see Stats.1972, ch. 1154, p. 2280) and the just-mentioned section 21168.5.

8.  In its present form in relevant part section 21151 reads: ‘All local agencies shall prepare, or cause to be prepared by contract, and certify the completion of an environmental impact report on any project they intend to carry out or approve which may have a significant effect on the environment.’ (Stats.1972, ch. 1154, p. 2276.)

9.  In this connection we note that by means of the 1972 amendments the Legislature substituted the word ‘may’ for the word ‘could’ in sections 21100 and 21102. (See Stats.1970, ch. 1433, pp. 2781, 2782; Stats.1972, ch. 1154, pp. 2274, 2275.)

10.  The present administrative definition of significant effect—‘Significant effect means a substantial adverse impact on the environment’ (14 Cal.Admin.Code, § 15040)—does not apply in this case since it did not become effective until February 10, 1973. (See 14 Cal.Admin.Code, § 15000, et seq.) We therefore do not pass upon its validity.

11.  The trial court defined the clause as meaning ‘whether there is a reasonable possibility that the project will have a momentous or important effect of a permanent or long-enduring nature.’ We neither approve nor disapprove this definition.

12.  It was this denial that led to the instant application some two years later for oil drilling districts instead.

13.  The proposed guidelines of the Secretary for the preparation and evaluation of environmental impact reports had not been prepared on October 17, 1972. They did not become generally available in Los Angeles until the first week of 1973. The transmittal notice accompanying these proposed guidelines plainly indicated that they were subject to revision. The guidelines in final form became effective on February 10, 1973. (14 Cal.Admin.Code, § 15000, et seq.)

14.  In so holding we do not wish to be understood as otherwise approving the Council's procedure in this case. In ignoring the Act to the extent it did and in handling this temporary drilling request only as a zoning matter, it acted very rashly.

15.  The First and Seventh Conclusions of Law will be deemed modified to conform to the modification we will make in the judgment.

COBEY, Associate Justice.

FORD, P. J., and LORING,* J., concur.Hearing granted; Molinari, J., sitting in place of MOSK, J., who deemed himself disqualified.

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