The gold rush is long over in California, but not in tiny Hermosa Beach.Of course, the usual environmentalists who automatically oppose anything that makes sense are complaining, but do they really need to complain about this?
This beach community, population 19,000, is virtually atop a reservoir of black gold. And early next year, voters are likely get the chance to do something that hasn't happened in California for more than three decades -- cash in on the state's vast supplies of offshore oil.
"This is an opportunity to earn four-hundred-million dollars. That is a lot of money," said former Hermosa Beach Mayor Gary Brutsch.
But others, who covet these two square miles of sun and sand, say getting into business with an oil company is inconsistent with the city's environmental conscience.
The proposed well, however, is unique. Built in a city maintenance yard five blocks from the ocean, the drilling rig and pipeline would siphon oil from under the Pacific Ocean without ever touching water. So called slant wells use a directional drilling technique that allows them to reach oil deposits up to 17 miles offshore without erecting unsightly drilling platforms within view from the beach. Building on land also dramatically reduces the potential negative effects of an oil spill.Imagine that, technology has actually improved since the 1969 Santa Barbara spill.
"I'm more apt to be for it because it's on land and going underneath. I think that might be a little easier and not having the eyesore," Chavez said.
The whole coastal area is full of oil, so full they've been having problems with bird deaths up around Santa Barbara because of oil seeping out of the ocean floor. Better to pump it out and use it rather than just let it be wasted coating sea birds.