Twenty-five new charges were filed against an oil company and two of its executives in connection with a lengthy legal fight over an oil and gas drill site in the University Park neighborhood that went idle in 2013 after residents complained its fumes were making them sick, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
“These sweeping new charges show that we won’t allow AllenCo to continue allegedly defying the law and disregarding its neighbors when it comes to environmental safety and health protections,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement. “This is a matter of environmental justice.”
Arraignment is set Oct. 20 for the company, its owner and CEO Clifford Allen and company Vice President Tim Parker, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
AllenCo officials could not be reached for immediate comment.
The charges allege failure to comply with an order from the California Geologic Energy Management Division to prepare a plan for and to conduct the work to depressurize and “kill” the wells, having 21 non-operational wells and not having required signage.
The wells allegedly experienced a set of leaks in the fall of 2019, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
The charges are separate from the city attorney’s original civil lawsuit in 2014 and a court order subsequently secured in 2016.
“Even during the site’s long closure, our residents witnessed many leaks from the oil wells,” Nancy Halpern Ibrahim, executive director of Esperanza Community Housing Corp., which organizes a campaign against oil wells in the neighborhood around the site. “When they raised concerns for their health to the proper agencies, they received an utter lack of responsiveness. It’s been a long time coming, but this is a great relief to the communities that AllenCo is being charged and will be criminally compelled to resolve these problems.”
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