Los Angeles – City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today that he has secured a Court order that puts in place important protections for the community and environment in regulating the AllenCo oil facility in South Los Angeles.
The Court order details specific regulations and further approvals that AllenCo must follow and obtain before it were to ever re-open. AllenCo is also required to provide a state-of-the-art environmental safety monitoring system and to pay $1.25 million in civil penalties.
“This judgment assures the community that AllenCo will never be allowed to re-open unless it complies with every single health and safety regulation–and installs a state-of-the-art health and safety monitoring system, overseen by an independent environmental expert authorized to shut the facility down,” said Feuer. “These protections are unprecedented. The residents neighboring AllenCo deserve nothing less.”
“I’d like to thank the City Attorney for using the City’s jurisdiction to ensure AllenCo complies with all mandated health and safety conditions,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo. “My office continues to support any actions or ordinances that put people’s health and safety before anything else. This is an environmental justice issue, and I am glad we are protecting our constituents from any potentially hazardous conditions.”
The order stipulates the following:
- Innovative, state-of-the art health and safety monitoring system, with emergency shutdown provisions.If AllenCo ever re-opens, the order requires it to fund a sophisticated, state-of-the-art environmental health and safety monitoring system overseen by the City Attorney’s environmental expert. Features of this system include:
- Prohibition on re-opening without compliance.AllenCo is prohibited from re-opening unless it first complies with every applicable state and local rule and regulation.
- Shutdown. Any release of methane, hydrogen sulfide, or non-methane hydrocarbons that exceeds levels set by the City Attorney’s environmental expert will trigger an immediate shutdown of the facility
- Even a series of lower-level releases (that do not exceed state standards) can trigger a shutdown.
- Tougher than existing rules. This system is more protective of public health than existing rules because:Unlike any existing monitoring, this system is specific to the site, with continuous monitoring at four sampling locations on AllenCo’s grounds.
- Multiple releases of air contaminants, even at or below state or federal standards, can trigger a shutdown.
- Even nominal chemical releases may trigger an investigation of AllenCo’s operations by the City Attorney’s environmental expert.
This system will be in place for at least four years from the date AllenCo re-opens, if it ever does. (AllenCo may keep the system in place thereafter.)
There will be at least one community meeting at which this system is explained to neighbors. Neighbors will be able to view the system’s results via a website, where they will also be able to report observations and complaints about AllenCo.
Injunction against violating all relevant laws. AllenCo is required to comply with every statute and ordinance it allegedly violated. The penalty for violating the injunction is contempt.
$1.25 million in penalties. AllenCo will pay $1.25 million in statutory penalties.
The City Attorney will devote penalties toward retaining a new environmental justice investigator targeting possible violations at L.A.’s urban oil sites and other significant environmental justice issues.
Feuer filed suit against AllenCo Energy in 2014, alleging violations of environmental protection laws and regulations at AllenCo’s oil field in University Park. The suit sought a permanent injunction, which has now been granted, requiring AllenCo to comply fully with all relevant laws and regulations.