Local voters in California gave oil a split decision on Tuesday. Voters in La Habra Heights shot down an anti-fracking ballot measure, while voters in Hermosa Beach rejected a ballot measure that would have permitted E&B Natural Resources to construct 34 onshore wells in the city. Meanwhile, Redondo Beach voters rejected a development plan that would have included razing the power plant that has long occupied a critical spot near the beach.
In La Habra Heights, voters rejected Measure A, the anti-fracking initiative by 60%-40%. The initiative would have prohibited new oil drilling, halted reactivation of old wells, and specifically prohibited fracking. It was placed on the ballot in large part to block Matrix Oil's plan to drill on an 18-acre site owned by the Southern California Gas Co. Californians for Energy Independence, a pro-oil PAC, spent $400,000 to defeat the measure in the city of 5,300 residents
Meanwhile, in Hermosa Beach, E&B had proposed amending the general plan and approving a development agreement to approve the drilling of 34 wells. But the measure went down 79%-21%. Almost 5,000 voters turned out -- a large number for a spring election run by the city, not the county elections office, in a city of 19,000 people.
Meanwhile, the defeat of AES's development plan in Redondo Beach is the latest in a long series of battles over new development and the future of the power plant in Redondo Beach. As an incentive to voters to support the development, AES promised to tear down the power plant. The project would have include 800 units of residential, a hotel, and a park. However, residents voted the development down by 52%-48%.
Less than two years ago, voters went the other way, rejecting a plan to phase out the AES plant.