In light of the council's request in August for city staff to explore the issues surrounding drilling for oil in Redondo Beach, Councilman Bill Brand proposed Thursday that the council pass a resolution banning oil drilling within city limits.
"I absolutely do not support oil drilling in Redondo Beach," Brand told the rest of the council.
Though he made two motions to ask city staff to come up with a resolution to ban oil drilling, no councilman seconded either motion.
Councilman Steve Diels, who originally proposed that city staff look into the effects of oil drilling, said he suggested it to give AES Redondo Beach an "exit strategy"—the city could use revenues from drilling to purchase the property on Harbor Drive from AES Southland.
"To suggest that oil is such a bad thing on one level, and yet to encourage more tanker traffic in our bay where most of the spills come from just strikes me as contradictory," Diels said, referencing the deal with Chevron to offload huge cokers for its refinery onto Mole B.
"(We) already have an exit strategy for AES—it's called rezoning the land," Brand said of the citizen's initiative to rezone the land under the power plant. "What's contradictory really is to reindustrialize our waterfront (while) at the same time turning it into a destination for people to come to enjoy the waterfront … I do not want to subject the residents to the hazards of slant drilling."
According to City Attorney Mike Webb, the Redondo Beach Municipal Code requires voter approval before anyone can drill for oil in the city.
"Clearly you have something on the books to prevent offshore oil drilling from onshore," he said. "I don't want to get into all the details … (but) you should know there is some current protection for some of the concerns … you have discussed."
Neighboring Hermosa Beach's voter-approved ban on oil drilling got the city embroiled in a long-term lawsuit with Macpherson Oil, which was only recently settled. The city's voters will once again have to decide whether to allow drilling for oil in Hermosa Beach.