Feds will issue loans to Laguna Beach businesses hurt by oil spill

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Dozens of oil spill workers with Patriot Environmental Services were at Main Beach collecting tarballs and oiled debris on Oct. 12. Photo by Daniel Langhorne

Orange County small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the oil spill can apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan program the U.S. Small Business Administration announced Wednesday.

Laguna Beach is coordinating a Small Business Clinic for those impacted by the oil spill from 5 to 8 p.m on Nov. 4 at the Laguna Beach community and Susi Q Senior Center.

The clinic is a partnership between Cal State University Fullerton’s Small Business Development Center, Assemblymember Cottie-Petrie Norris (D-Laguna Beach), and city staffers. The event is free and includes a 30-minute one-on-one session with a consultant.

Immediately after the oil spill, which closed Laguna Beach’s shoreline and ocean access for 11 days, Assistant City Manager Ken Domer reached out to business owners to gauge the disaster’s economic impacts, Sandy Morales, president and CEO of the Laguna Beach of Commerce, wrote in an email.

“The city did a great job in relaying this information to Sacramento and we are fortunate that the SBA awarded Orange County with the Economic Injury Relief Program,” Morales wrote.

Register for the clinic at laguna-business-clinic.eventbrite.com.

Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Seal Beach) appreciated positive news from the Small Business Administration on Wednesday and reiterated her Oct. 3 letter asking President Joe Biden to recognize the oil spill as a major federal disaster.

“I’m glad that local businesses will be able to access the resources they need, and now it’s time for the Administration to formally declare a Major Disaster for Orange County to open up even more relief and resources for our community,” Steel said in a statement.

Justin Behrendsen, owner of the surfing and kayak tour company Laguna Ethos, said he was interested in learning more about loans terms after his business shut down for about 10 days.

“We had to refund people and we lost a lot of business during this time,” he said. “Laguna did the right thing and make sure the public was safe and the [Marine Protected Area] was clean.”

Overall, Behrendsen estimates the spill’s impacts cost his two-year-old business a few thousand dollars. He’s still optimistic following a productive summer.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. STOP SPENDING, make budget cuts, get rid of obsolete agencies, create cash reserves, repay the Social Security Trust and pay off debt!!!

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