The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that AllenCo Energy has agreed to pay a $99,000 penalty for violating federal environmental laws at an oil field near USC.
The EPA has alleged the Signal Hill oil company has not taken all the necessary steps to prevent accidental releases of oil and other hazardous substances from its oil field operation near USC, in violation of both the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Operations have been suspended at the oil field pending measures the company is taking to address the problems.
This penalty is in addition to the $700,000 that AllenCo has agreed to spend on improvements to the oil field to bring it into full compliance with federal standards. Those include preparing a spill prevention control plan and installing filters to prevent accidental releases of hazardous fumes into the air.
Last year, at the request of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, AllenCo voluntarily ceased operations at the oil field. Boxer had urged the company to halt operations after local residents and employees at neighboring facilities complained about nausea, asthma attacks and other adverse health effects from fumes they claimed emanated from the site. AllenCo must satisfy all EPA requirements and get agency certification before it can restart operations.
AllenCo has maintained its oil field operations are not responsible for the adverse health symptoms and that repeated inspections have found no indications of odors or emissions from its operations.
AllenCo spokesman Peter Whittingham said Wednesday: “Allenco reached agreement with the EPA in April on a consent order. We understood then that a civil penalty would be forthcoming. AllenCo continues to be committed to working with the EPA.”
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