Ryah Cooley

Revised report says Hermosa oil project will have minimal impact on health

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One of the main access gates of E&B's oil site in Huntington Beach opens up to reveal the company's facility, tucked away behind cinder blocked walls and trees in two, one-square city blocks in a residential area. The proposed production site in Hermosa Beach will be similar. Photo by Sam Gangwer, Staff Photographer

One of the main access gates of E&B’s oil site in Huntington Beach opens up to reveal the company’s facility, tucked away behind cinder blocked walls and trees in two, one-square city blocks in a residential area. The proposed production site in Hermosa Beach will be similar. Photo by Sam Gangwer, Staff Photographer

 

A proposed oil drilling project in Hermosa Beach will have no substantial impact on community health, according to a revised report on the project’s health impacts – a reversal from an earlier version that said drilling in the small beach town could lead to an increased likelihood of mortality and depression.

The report was released Monday on the city’s website. It differs substantially from a preliminary finding completed in February that concluded that air pollution, noise and increased traffic from the project would subject neighboring residents to numerous physical and mental problems.

The city and Bakersfield energy company E&B Natural Resources signed a settlement agreement in 2012 that would allow the company to ask voters to lift Hermosa’s ban on oil drilling. If successful, the ballot measure would allow E&B to install 30 oil wells at the city’s 1.3-acre maintenance yard. The vote could happen as early as November or as late as summer 2015.

In April, the city withdrew the preliminary report at the request of the consulting group Intrinsik Inc. , who compiled the report. Intrinsik said the HIA needed revision as a result of public comments taken in February and March.

Jim Sullivan, a long time Hermosa Beach resident and founding member of the pro-oil group, Protect Hermosa’s Future, said he is pleased with the new findings.

“I think it’s a far more accurate representation of the facts than the original,” Sullivan said. “It reflects good science.”

Kevin Sousa, a Hermosa Beach resident and steering committee member for Stop Hermosa Beach Oil, said he was disappointed with the new conclusion.

“They [Intrinsik] stated at the study session that you can still hear, see it and smell it,” Sousa said. “Something seems amiss with their conclusion.”

Comments on the revised draft of the HIA will be accepted through Aug. 14 and may be emailed to oilproject@hermosacbch.org or delivered or mailed to Ken Robertson, Community Development, City of Hermosa Beach, 1315 Valley Drive, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254