Ryah Cooley

Keeping oil out of Hermosa

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Stacey Armato at a Stop Hermosa Beach Oil event at South Park in Hermosa Beach earlier this year.

Stacey Armato at a Stop Hermosa Beach Oil event at South Park in Hermosa Beach earlier this year.

Stacey Armato of a Hermosa Beach is committee chair of Stop Hermosa Beach Oil, which is laboring to maintain the ban on oil drilling; she paused in a typically busy day to speak with Easy Reader.

Q: How did you get involved with Stop Hermosa Beach Oil?

A: We had moved our family here (in July of 2012). My kids were 3 and 1 1/2 at the time. We were getting really in love with living next to the beach and just a great outdoor lifestyle. I found out about a potential oil drilling initiative and I couldn’t believe it. So I went to one of the city council meetings and we were all just really angry about the position the city put the voters in. After that meeting, it was nice to see that there are other people who feel the same way. We’ve been going 100 miles an hour ever since.

Q: Why do you think it’s important to maintain the ban on oil drilling in Hermosa Beach?

A: We want to maintain the health and safety of our community. We want to retain kind of this eclectic small town beachy feel, and an oil and gas drilling operation just doesn’t fit in with that at all.

Q: Some would say it doesn’t seem to have disrupted the beachy feel of Huntington Beach, which is using the same drilling technology. What is your response to that?

A: E&B compares the project to Huntington Beach. I find it interesting because a lot of people who go and see the site complain of the stench. It really does have a foul smell. That and the noise are some of the unavoidable effects of the project.

Q: Hermosa residents use gasoline; would you say it’s a bit hypocritical not to want to extract any of it?

A: We’re not saying gasoline is the devil or evil. We’re saying drilling 34 wells in a densely populated community … is a really bad deal for the city. It’s an opportunity for us to think about becoming more sustainable and less dependent on oil and gas.

Q: What is your favorite thing about living in Hermosa Beach?

A: I love walking. I love being able to walk everywhere with our double stroller, go to any of the restaurants and be welcomed. What I’ve also come to love is that we’ve become so familiar with all our neighbors and friends and are just constantly seeing each other. I also the love the ease of which you can become involved. The city does a really good job of informing you of what’s going on and different ways you can be involved.

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