For decades past, rapacious oil interests have pursued the black gold that lies beneath Hermosa Beach, even bringing the city’s very existence to the brink under lawsuits over unseen plunder.
- 1932 Hermosa residents voted to ban new drilling within the city.
1992 Santa Monica-based Macpherson Oil dangled the prospect of tens of millions of dollars in royalties, the voters in a moment of moral weakness, voted to lift the ban.
- 1995 Voters approve Proposition E, which restored the previously held ban on drilling.
- 1998 Following a report by the California Coastal Commission that raised safety concerns regarding the project, City Council voted to halt the project. In turn, Macpherson Oil sued the city for breach of contract, claiming as much as $750 million in damages. The legal case dragged on for 14 years, leaving city leaders fearing it might bankrupt the town.
- One month before a jury trial was scheduled to begin last year, the city announced it had settled the suit. As part of the deal, E&B Natural Resources would buy Macpherson's stake in the deal for $30 million and limit the city's liability to $17.5 million. But there was one major caveat: E&B could again ask Hermosa voters to overturn the drilling ban.
- The current leaseholder, E&B Natural Resources as part of a settlement, has agreed to allow a ballot measure to permit the residents a say in the decision to compromise their precious, pristine environment.
- The carrot being dangled is a half billion in revenue over twenty years, but this figure is misleading. The State Lands Commission’s public trust policy requires funds derived from the Tidelands be used for specific projects. The amount of actual revenue that will go into the general fund will be $4.39 million per year over 20 years.
- At present, the city is debt free with Hermosa Beach City assets exceeding their liabilities by $80 million; Hermosa can afford to pay the settlement.
Hermosa Beach completed an Environmental Impact Report in the 1990′s for this exact location and the Macpherson Oil Project, it concluded that an Oil Drilling Project at 6th and Valley was unsafe and the air quality impact would be too harmful.
While under the best of circumstances, it is clear that this project poses a threat to the well being of the residents nearest the project site, an unforeseen accident or natural disaster affecting this project could potentially harm the entire Santa Monica Bay. It is time for green renewable energy. We must take the climate crises seriously, we must take the safety of our communities seriously, and we must stand with the residents of Hermosa Beach who are standing strong to “Keep Hermosa Hermosa!"
I am strongly against the proposed E&B oil drilling project, or any future attempts to drill for oil in Hermosa Beach.