Oil Field Closed after Safety Inspection

Friday, January 17, 2014 @ 09:01 AM gHale

A South Los Angeles oil field remains shut down after an inspection by federal regulators as a result of residents’ claims that fumes have caused headaches, nosebleeds and other illnesses.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notified AllenCo Energy Inc. Wednesday of inspection results. The EPA said the company failed to inspect equipment to prevent accidental releases of fumes and didn’t follow recommendations for testing, calibration and repair of its methane and flame detectors.

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Odors from AllenCo’s field prompted at least 260 complaints to air quality officials from area residents in the past four years.

None of the findings involve public health threats but are mainly record-keeping problems, said company spokesman Peter Whittingham. AllenCo is already updating operations to address concerns from other agencies, he said.

Officials suspended the oil field’s operations since November amid concerns by local residents. Last week, the city sued to keep the field from reopening.

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court accuses AllenCo of ignoring evidence that its emissions were the source of debilitating ailments: Nosebleeds, headaches, fatigue and asthma. The complaint seeks a permanent injunction against the oil extraction operation until it no longer poses an imminent threat to public health.

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