Hermosa Beach voters to decide city's oil future

Hermosa Beach must decide if it’s an oil town


Hermosa Beach is a tourist mecca, known for good beaches and better waves.


But is oil a part of Hermosa’s future?


The city has had a complex and convoluted history with oil for the better part of the last century. And now, the issue is coming to the fore again.


Today, residents of Hermosa Beach go to the polls to vote on whether to allow E&B Natural Resources Management to continue drilling, despite a current city ban.


Approving the measure could cost city taxpayers millions. Not only would it miss out on future oil revenues, but the city would be on the hook for $17.5 million in damages to the energy company, the equivalent of about half the annual general fund budget in this city of almost 20,000 people.


Oil drilling has divided communities around the state. In the last election, we saw mixed results on proposed fracking bans, while in Carson, an oil company just pulled the plug on a major proposed drilling project after strong local opposition.


In Sacramento, all eyes are on the Legislature and the 2016 ballot, where fights over an oil extraction tax and fracking are expected to continue.