The City of Hermosa Beach made available new documents this week relating to E&B Natural Resources Management Corp's proposed oil drilling project on city property, Hermosa Beach Mayor Jeff Duclos announced on Monday.
Among the newly-added documents to a dedicated page on the city's website was an outline for the environmental review process required for the proposed oil drilling project at the city's maintenance yard.
According to the document, the city has contracted with Laguna Beach firm Ed Almanza & Associates to serve as the project manager during the review process and has also extended a consulting contract to former Hermosa city manager Stephen Burrell, who will help process E&B's development application.
"These consultants ensure we have the personnel we need to get this proposed project's review, and all the other work done, in a timely and thorough fashion," said Mayor Duclos in a release.
Duclos also noted that Burrell's 18 years of experience with the city gives him an "unmatched knowledge of the history of events leading up to and including the settlement agreement that led to the proposed oil production project."
The city says it expects E&B to submit its project application in the next three to four months and, when received, the city will move forward with a environmental review process required by the California Environmental Quality Act.
According to a reimbursement agreement, which was also made available on the city's website this week, E&B will be responsible for all costs associated with the environmental review.
During the entire process, the city says there will be multiple opportunities for public input on the proposal and the environmental review.
In the end, a ballot measure will allow voters to ultimately decide whether the city's existing ban on oil drilling should be modified to allow for E&B's proposed drilling project to proceed.
Mayor Duclos said that the city will continue to update the website with relevant information about the proposal. "The addition of these new documents to a dedicated page on the city website is just one of the ways we will provide residents with the factual information they need to arrive at an informed decision," he said in the release.
In March, former Hermosa Beach mayor Howard Fishman announced the city with Santa Monica-based oil-drilling company Macpherson Oil, which was brought on by the oil company after Hermosa Beach residents voted to reinstate a ban on oil drilling in 1995. The oil company alleged that this violated a 1992 lease agreement with the city that allowed the company to drill for oil beneath city property.
Under the March settlement, Macpherson Oil agreed to drop its lawsuit and assign its lease and permits for the oil project at the city maintenance yard to E & B, subject to a voter-approved ballot measure that would repeal the 1995 ban, Fishman said.
If residents choose to lift the ban, E&B's proposed drilling project will move forward on city property, pending necessary permits. If the ban is upheld, the city will have to pay E&B $17.5 million in compensation.
All documents and relevant information to the suit and proposal can be viewed on a dedicated page on city's website or at City Hall. The newly added documents have also been attached to this article.