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Offer City Shouldn't Refuse? See/Hear What We Saw/Heard On Walking Tour of Long Beach Oil Field That Two Profit-Making Firms Offer To Restore To 150+ Acres Of Natural Wetlands For Public Access is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(November 5, 2017, 10:05 a.m.) -- In the coming weeks, LB's non-elected Planning Commission and thereafter LB's elected City Council will vote on whether to approve (and advance to other regulatory agency reviews) or disapprove a proposal by a partnership of two profit-making firms to transform the eyesore oil field north of 2nd St. between PCH and Studebaker Rd. into 154 acres of naturally restored wetlands for public access and enjoyment.

The proposal comes from Beach Oil Minerals Partners or BOMP, consisting of Synergy Oil & Gas (which operates the oil field) and other investors. BOMP was formed to facilitate entitlements and acquisition of the Pumpkin Patch parcel (south of the Marketplace along PCH) upon entitlements in order to restore the wetlands and consolidate oil operations offsite. BOMP proposes to remove the oil field's rusting surface operations, replace it with modern slant drilling from the Pumpkin Patch and from a site at the NE corner of 2nd/Studebaker and create a "mitigation bank," a legal mechanism that lets a local project proponent sell "mitigation credits" to polluting projects elsewhere, creating a revenue stream that enables BOMP to recoup its up-front costs for restoring the wetlands.

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On the weekend of October 20-22, BOMP offered the public walking tours of the usually-inaccessible oil field that it offers to restore to 154 acres of natural wetlands. went on the walking tour on Sunday morning Oct. 22 and provides extended VIDEO and photo coverage below of what we saw and heard.

Tour reaches "Steamshovel Slough," not easily seen from offsite, that wetlands supporters call one of the most pristine salt marshes in all of Southern California.

If surface oil drilling is removed under proposed wetlands restoration, a berm at the southern end of "Steamshovel Slough" (currently used to prevent water from reaching the current surface wells) would be opened to allow natural wetlands to expand, that could presumably look something like the photo above.



Supporters say the prospect of restoring 150+ acres of wetlands is a game changer, an offer not made by the prior oil field's owner/operators, an opportunity that may not come again. If the City doesn't approve the plan, Synergy Oil could presumably continue its present surface oil drilling operations leaving the degraded wetlands as they are.

But some say BOMP's offer amounts to an oil-drilling plan that gives the company a larger number of (slant drilled) wells, prioritizes fossil fuel with continues risks of pipeline breaks and oil spills. Others don't like the concept of a "mitigation bank," since it aids a local project at the cost of enabling pollution elsewhere. Some are wary of slant drilling more wells than currently exist along both sides of the Newport-Inglewood fault (avoids drilling directly through the fault which bisects the oil field) and speculate about whether the operations could trigger an earthquake. Others cite historic use of the site by Tongva native Americans.


As of November 2, the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust, the non-profit entity that has devoted decades to pursuing restoration of the wetlands, hasn't yet taken a position pro or con on the proposed project.

The wetland restoration project's draft EIR indicates that to avoid ground subsidence (resulting from the voice created by removing oil with the new slant drilled wells), the operator would inject water (some stripped from the extracted oil) back into the ground. A City Hall-offered draft EIR says the slant drilled wells and water re-injection won't create a significant risk of triggering seismic activity. Responses from the public and government bodies to the draft EIR are expected to be released shortly...and the EIR will be among matters coming to the Planning Commission and City Council for approval.



On Oct. 21, project opponents demonstrated outside the site. On November 2, 2017, opponents testified at a meeting of the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority (a four member government body comprised of LB Councilmembers Suzie Price and Roberto Uranga, a Seal Beach Councilmember and an appointee of the State Coastal Conservancy) when it received an update on BOMP's proposal.

Nov 8: Text clarified to indicate that BOMP and Lyon Living aren't partners but that BOMP plans to acquire the Pumpkin Patch property (PCH south of the Marketplace) owned by Lyon Living upon entitlements to restore the wetlands and consolidate oil operations offsite.


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