Los Angeles – City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today that his office has filed 25 new counts against AllenCo Energy Inc., owner/CEO Clifford Allen and Vice President Tim Parker in the protracted legal battle over violations of environmental laws and health and safety regulations at its oil facility in the South Los Angeles neighborhood of University Park. Although currently inactive, AllenCo’s 21 oil wells have been the source of complaints from neighbors about noxious odors, nosebleeds, headaches and irritation to the eyes, nose and throat.
"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," said Feuer. "This is a matter of environmental justice."
"Last year we took decisive action to permanently close portions of the drill site operated by AllenCo, and we have absolutely zero tolerance for any further violations," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our residents, and I firmly support the actions taken today. We must use every tool at our disposal to swiftly move away from dirty oil and toward our clean energy future."
The charges announced today are for:
Failure to comply with the order from the California California Geologic Energy Management Division (CaLGEM) to prepare a plan for and conduct the work to depressurize and kill the wells;
Having 21 nonoperational wells, because after one year they must either be safely abandoned or safely made operational again; and
Not having required signage.
These charges are separate from Feuer’s original civil lawsuit in 2014 and the court order his office secured in 2016.
In the fall of 2019, oil wells at AllenCo experienced a series of leaks. Although its court-mandated fence-line air monitoring system was in or close to working order, AllenCo refused to use it. After numerous attempts to work with AllenCo to kill the wells and render them safe were rebuffed, CalGEM issued its own Remedial Order that ordered AllenCo to provide a plan to depressurize and kill all 21 oil wells. (Wells that are not effectively depressurized pose a risk of leakage). AllenCo appealed this order but it was affirmed in January of this year. To date, AllenCo has not complied.
In early September, LAFD also issued Notices of Violations to AllenCo for nonoperational wells and for failure to have proper signage.
The defendants now face significant criminal penalties for their continued violations and failure to comply with LAFD and CalGEM’s directives and orders.
Jessica Brown, Supervisor of the City Attorney’s Environmental Justice Unit, is managing this litigation.