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HERMOSA BEACH : Anti-Drilling Measure Qualifies for Ballot

July 07, 1994|JAMES BENNING

Opponents of a plan to drill for oil here have gathered enough signatures to place an anti-drilling initiative on the ballot.

Proponents of the Hermosa Beach Environmental Protection Initiative gathered 1,628 signatures in the hope of quashing a plan by MacPherson Oil Co. of Santa Monica to dig 30 wells at a slant under the city.

The City Council will probably vote next week whether to put the initiative on the November ballot in conjunction with the statewide election, said Mayor Sam Y. Edgerton.

"It's an issue that's too big for the City Council to take on," Edgerton said. "It must be left up to the people."

But Donald MacPherson Jr., president of the oil company, said a vote either way will have no impact on the project. His firm has spent more than $2 million on the project, he said.

"It's really irrelevant if (the initiative) gets on any ballot," MacPherson said.

The oil company's project was endorsed by the State Lands Commission in March, but still requires the approval of the California Coastal Commission. MacPherson hopes to begin drilling by the end of the year.

Oil company engineers expect the wells to produce 27 million barrels of oil over the next 25 years, generating as much as $104 million for the city.

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