Los Angeles

LA City Council Wants All Legal Options to Block Reopening of Oil Field

A Los Angeles city councilman said Friday that he wants the city to consider all legal options, including eminent domain and condemnation proceedings, to prevent the reopening of a South Los Angeles oil field which was closed when residents complained that fumes were making them sick.

Councilman Gil Cedillo introduced a motion requesting the city attorney to immediately report to the City Council in a closed session on all legal options that may be employed to prevent an oil field operated by AllenCo Energy Co. on land leased from the Los Angeles Archdiocese from reopening.

Cedillo has been exploring other avenues to stop the oil field from reopening. Earlier this month, the City Council approved a Cedillo motion that would prevent it from reopening by implementing a little-used law that allows the city to terminate oil drilling districts that have been inactive. The AllenCo field in University Park, located in Cedillo's First District, has been inactive since 2013, and a report from the Board of Public Works noted that the city could terminate any oil district that had been inactive for a year.

The council's action earlier this month directs the City Attorney's Office to prepare and present an ordinance repealing the oil district where the AllenCo site is located, but the ordinance has not come back to the City Council for vote.

Cedillo's latest motion says Allenco recently informed the city it plans to restart operations at the oil field at 814 W. 23rd St.

"Times have changed and the primary concern for the communities I represent is that they live in a healthy and environmentally just neighborhood," Cedillo said earlier this year.

"This includes communities that are free of potentially harmful oil emissions or the potential for an oil leak. We are fighting to ensure our residents all over the district have the same quality of life."

AllenCo voluntarily closed its oil field after health complaints.

Officials with the company could not immediately be reached for comment.

In 2016, City Attorney Mike Feuer said the oil field must remain closed until the operator shows it has adhered to all regulations, with even the smallest leak potentially triggering another closure.

Feuer sued the company in early 2014 and obtained an injunction forcing the facility operators to follow all relevant regulatory laws. AllenCo also agreed to pay $1.25 million in penalties, split equally between the City Attorney's and District Attorney's offices.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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