Hermosa Beach residents discuss their thoughts on the draft environmental impact report at a special planning commission meeting on Tuesday. Photo by Ryah Cooley, staff reporter.
Hermosa Beach residents who spoke Tuesday at the public comment meeting on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed E&B Natural Resources oil drilling project were mostly in support of the document but had opposing views on the project itself.
At the first of two public comment meetings seeking public input regarding the 1,500 page report, several residents said that the analysis of the fiscal, environmental, and health impacts was simply too long and contained too much jargon and technical language.
“I don’t think we can expect voters to read thousands of pages of documents, take it all in and figure out what to do next,” said Amy Roth, a Hermosa Beach resident who has worked in the oil industry.
The DEIR, prepared by city-appointed independent consultant firm Marine Research Specialists, was released on Feb. 13 and analyzes E&B’s proposal for the development of 30 oil wells and four water injection wells on the City’s 1.3-acre public works maintenance yard at Valley Drive and 6th Street. The report found that several environmental impacts could not be mitigated, including sulfur odors, increased industrial traffic, and noise during drilling and construction.
The report is intended to give residents information needed to make a decision regarding the project’s future, must be finalized before a citywide vote can happen to uphold or overturn the ban on oil drilling in Hermosa Beach. The vote could happen as soon as November.
The DEIR must be finalized before a vote can happen to uphold or overturn the ban on oil drilling in Hermosa Beach. The vote could happen as soon as November.
Members of the city’s Planning Commission, who moderated the event, repeatedly told those testifying that the meeting’s purpose was to hear the public’s thoughts on the DEIR specifically. Residents still expressed views on whether there should even be an oil drilling project proposed in Hermosa Beach.
Hermosa Beach resident Doug Collins said that while he appreciated the thoroughness of the DEIR, oil drilling in the city shouldn’t even be a consideration. He noted that the report itself listed this a possible option.
“The preferred environmental option is in fact, no project,” Collins said.
A handful of people spoke in support of oil drilling. Joe Montana, who moved to Hermosa from Detroit in the 1980s, said that California was headed for bankruptcy just like his former city if places like Hermosa Beach continued to shy away from bringing revenue and business into the city. “We want to slap away this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when it would bring in more money to keep Hermosa hermosa,” Montana said. “We should be open to this opportunity from E&B.”
Benice Lindo, a 45-year Hermosa Beach resident, said she was concerned about property values of homes decreasing if the project were to proceed. She also said she was worried about oil spills in residential areas.
“This is a toxin,” Lindo said. “It’s poison and it’s coming up.”
The second and final public comment meeting on the DEIR will be held on Thursday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the City Hall Council Chambers. The second and final public comment meeting on the DEIR will be held on Thursday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the City Hall Council Chambers.