For the last 100 years, El Segundo has been known as an oil town, starting with the Standard Oil company in 1917 and currently Chevron’s refinery.
But the mayor said times are changing, and the city is now taking an environmental stance against new offshore drilling leases that could come near the city's coastline.
Jose Bacallao and his daughter S.J. are picking up trash out of the sand in Hermosa Beach.
It’s one of the small ways the two try to keep their city’s beach clean.
“I’m connected to nature and and being able to take care of it together as a family really brings me a lot of joy,” Bacallao said.
Bacallao is a biologist by trade. Through the years, his family has been advocating against offshore drilling along their coastline.
“This ocean, the Pacific Ocean is just an incredible place and the Santa Monica Bay is such an incredible resource. We have whales, sharks, dolphins,” Bacallao said.
But with the Trump Administration’s five-year offshore drilling leasing plan on the way, he knew he had to do more in his community.
A few miles away from his hometown lies the city of El Segundo. It's a city that grew alongside an oil company in the early 1900s.
That’s why he and other advocates with Oceana, an environmental advocacy group, asked city leaders like Mayor Drew Boyles to take a stand against offshore drilling leases despite the ocean being under federal jurisdiction.
“People are becoming more environmentally-minded. They are concerned. There’s a different demographic in El Segundo than there was 30 years ago. So people care about what’s coming into our town. In our town and off our shores,” Boyles said.
In response, the city became one of more than 70 California cities that adopted a resolution opposing offshore drilling leases. It's a decision Boyles said would be in line with a possible repurposing of a nearby power plant.
“They just rebuilt two of their power plants in the last five years and L.A. is now telling them. Actually, the state of California, 'You might have to repurpose the entire facility,' so they are looking to potentially go to renewable energies and go away from fossil fuels altogether. That’s just one indicator of what’s to come for all of this,” Boyles said.
For Bacallao’s family, having the city of El Segundo onboard was just one drop in the South Bay bucket. They’re hoping to see more nearby cities like Torrance and Hermosa Beach follow the once known oil town’s lead.