A proposal to allow dumping of dredged ocean bottom material at a shallow water site offshore has prompted a challenge by the Long Beach City Council.
The council voted Tuesday to ask the administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency to hold hearings on whether fishing grounds will be disturbed by the dumping of dredged materials in an area five miles off San Pedro.
The materials, periodically scraped from shipping channels in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, should be dumped instead in deeper water, even though it would cost more to barge the materials farther out to sea, said Councilman Warren Harwood, an avid fisherman.
Don May, a representative of the environmental group Heal the Bay, said that the dredge materials contain harmful chemical deposits. To prove his point, he brought along a bucketful of the gray silty stuff to show the council.
The council action follows a letter sent by Mayor Ernie Kell to the EPA last January challenging an environmental impact statement that found that moving the ocean dump site to deeper water would not affect fishing grounds.