Hermosa Voters OK Oil Drilling, but Fight Not Over

March 3, 2015—We may have lost one battle. But we haven’t lost the war to keep oil drilling out of Santa Monica Bay.

Voters in Hermosa Beach have narrowly approved an oil company’s proposal to begin drilling underneath the seafloor there, based on initial results from today’s election. E&B Natural Resources, a Bakersfield-based corporation, outspent Heal the Bay and other grassroots opponents nearly 10-to-1 in its bid to sink 34 wells in the 1.4-square mile coastal city.

We believe that low turnout and a misinformation campaign funded by Big Oil led to the narrow passage of Measure O. Voters seemed to be swayed by wildly speculative promises of royalty revenues, despite the obvious risks of oil spills and impacts to quality of life from drilling.

While the vote is disappointing, there is some good news to share: This dangerous and ill-advised project is far from a sure thing.

And that’s where you come in.

Big Oil may have deep pockets, but we have a secret weapon – you and thousands of other ocean lovers who simply can’t stand to see the Bay opened up to oil drilling.

There is no oil drilling in the Bay now, and we aim to keep it that way by using the best science and passionate advocacy to deny E&B the necessary regulatory permits. If E&B is allowed to proceed in Hermosa, it would set a terrible precedent for further industrialization of the Bay.

Heal the Bay’s science and policy team is assembling a multi-tiered campaign to persuade the California Coastal Commission and State Lands Commission to withhold permits to E&B based on numerous safety and health risks outlined in the official Environmental Impact Report. We’re already reviewing technical documents, gathering expert scientific testimony, preparing legal arguments in consultation with our partners and mobilizing political support.

We got our start in 1985 by leading the grassroots fight to stop the Hyperion Treatment Plant from dumping partially treated sewage in the Bay. We’ve come too far in the three decades since to allow oil drilling under the Bay. A spill would be disastrous for our entire region, not just Hermosa.

We will keep you posted on ways you can lend your voice to stop this project in coming months.

We will prevail.

We ask you to please consider contributing to our special No Oil Fund this March. Any donations made this calendar month will be matched by a generous supporter who values our history of effective policy work.