The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced an agreement with AllenCo Energy Inc. that will require the Signal Hill company to make significant improvements at its controversial oil field near USC.
AllenCo said in the EPA announcements it expects to spend about $700,000 to make improvements at the University Park facility.
The agreement follows a November inspection that determined AllenCo didn’t meet recognized industry standards and practices of the Clean Air Act to prevent accidental air releases of hazardous substances. The EPA also cited the company for violation of the Clean Water Act for not having an approved plan for preventing and dealing with any spills.
“When a company is operating extremely close to a neighboring community, it is essential that steps are taken to ensure the safety of the residents,” Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said in a statement.
The November EPA inspection was prompted by complaints from residents of headaches, nosebleeds and respiratory ailments blamed on noxious odors from the oil field, which is on land that Allenco leases from the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
AllenCo voluntarily shut down operations at the field a few weeks after the November inspection. Owner Peter Allen told the Business Journal earlier this month that if he has to close the field permanently, he will lose his life savings and dozens of workers will lose their jobs. He believes his critics may be exploiting growing concerns over the practice of fracking, which is the pressurized injection of water and chemicals into wells to boost production.