Back in 1992 the city of Hermosa Beach signed a lease agreement that would let a company called MacPherson Oil set up drilling at Sixth St. and Valley Dr., current site of a maintenance yard. In 1995 the city passed a voter initiative that banned exploration, drilling, and production. And in 1998, based on a then-new independent analysis, the city decided that MacPherson's drilling would be too risky to the public. MacPherson sued for breach of contract. Lo these many years later, the litigation continues, and in February a panel of judges said the case had to go to a jury trial, but that the city could argue more than just the amount of money it owes MacPherson. That includes the argument that the 1998 report gave them new information unknown at the time of the lease agreement. Now Hermosa has filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court, asking them to throw out the jury trial requirement. Meanwhile, MacPherson is stating speculative profits of $700 million, while a press release from the city says the company's original public claim was $4 million. The release also says that offshore drilling (MacPherson would have used a slant-drilling operation to tap offshore reserves) is "so risky that no offshore oil projects...have been constructed in state waters since 1969," the year of the Santa Barbara oil spill. A rep for MacPherson told the Daily Breeze that the health and safety concerns about the site are "utter crap."
· Hermosa Beach, McPherson Oil each claim victory in latest court ruling [Daily Breeze]
· Hermosa Beach asks court to review ruling in MacPherson Oil case [Daily Breeze]