The LWV advocates and takes action on public policy issues. Find out more about our advocacy positions and our stands on the issues.
The League of Women Voters advocates and takes action on public policy issues. We take positions on ballot measures based on current program positions and/or on League Principles. Positions are developed based on a process of member study and consensus.
At the June 24, 2014 League of Women Voters of the Beach Cities Board meeting, the Board voted to take a position against the Hermosa Beach Oil Drilling project. Led by Kathy Berlin, the Board reviewed the history of the project and League national, state and county positions on the environment that might enable us to take such a position against the proposed project.
Relevant League of Women Voters environmental positions include the following statements:
- The League of Women Voters of Los Angeles County Natural Resources + Land Use position adopted in 2006 calls for "strong, enforceable environmental protections."
- The League of Women Voters of California State position on offshore oil/gas exploration, development and production action states, "The potential loss of other uses due to oil development or oil spill damage is real. Some areas must be deleted from development consideration because they are areas of biological, recreation, environmental or economic importance, or because they are in hazard zones." As well, the position notes, "Our coastal resources must not be sacrificed to short-sighted energy policies and short-term economic gain... Also, development should occur within the framework of state and national energy policies that stress the increasing use of conservation and renewable energy sources and a decreasing reliance on fossil fuels."
- The National League of Women Voters land use position calls for special consideration for the protection of areas of critical environmental concern, natural hazards, historical importance and aesthetic value.../with/ special attention to maintaining and improving the environmental quality of urban communities." "The League supports the preservation of the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the ecosystem and maximum protection of public health and the environment." Under Land Use, the League supports "fragile or historical lands, where development could result in irreversible damage (such as shore-lands of rivers, lakes and streams, estuaries and bays; rare or valuable ecosystems and geological formations; significant wildlife habitats; unique scenic or historic areas; wetlands; deserts."
Considering these League positions, the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) commissioned by the Hermosa Beach City Council provides a strong motivation for our opposition to the proposed Hermosa Beach Oil Project. For example, the EIR states, "The Proposed Oil Project would generate potentially significant and unavoidable environmental impacts in the following areas:
- Air Quality
- Land Use
- Safety and Risk of Upset"
Under Land Use, the EIR notes, "The drilling, construction, and potential future operations would be in close proximity to land uses zoned as open space (parks, baseball fields and the Greenbelt) and residential. Proposed Oil Project activities during all phases may generate significant noise, odor and visual impacts that would be incompatible with these adjacent land uses. Mitigation measures are proposed to reduce these impacts in the respective issue areas, but impacts would remain significant and unavoidable." As well, the EIR points out under Recreation "During a rain event, a potential oil spill from the oil pipeline along Valley Drive or at the intersection of Valley Drive and Herondo Street could drain directly into storm drains and flow to the ocean. Even without rains, the capacity of the storm drains is such that an oil spill could still reach the ocean, depending on the arrangement of sand at the mouth of the ocean discharge. An oil spill along the coastline could affect beach areas, leading to beach closures and boating restrictions in contaminated areas during and potentially after cleanup. Public perception of the recreational quality of the areas beaches (Hermosa, Manhattan, Redondo, etc) could also be affected, causing a reduction in beach recreational activities for a substantial period of time. Mitigation measures ...would further reduce the frequency and severity of an oil spill reaching the ocean, but impacts would remain significant and unavoidable.
Based on a careful reading of the final Environmental Impact Report certified by the Hermosa Beach Planning Commission on June 23, 2014 and by the City Council on July 8, 2014, and on existing League of Women Voters Los Angeles County, State of California and National environmental positions, the League of Women Voters of the Beach Cities takes a position in opposition to the proposed Hermosa Beach Oil Drilling Project and recommends a "no" vote on the proposed oil drilling project on the ballot measure which is scheduled to appear on a March 3, 2015 ballot.