LOS ANGELES (AP) — California Sen. Barbara Boxer on Friday called on an oil company to stop production at its Los Angeles facility after some residents complained of nosebleeds, headaches, dizziness and respiratory problems.
Boxer met with residents in the University Park neighborhood in South Los Angeles. For the past several years, residents have filed complaints with the state about foul odors from a nearby oil field, which increased production due to rising crude oil prices and new extraction techniques.
"This terrible situation simply cannot go on," said Boxer, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Boxer recently appealed to the Environmental Protection Agency for help, and this week, the agency dispatched a team of inspectors to the facility near the University of Southern California campus to collect data.
The state received 340 complaints about powerful fumes from the facility since 2010, conducted five dozen site visits and issued 16 notices of violations against Allenco Energy Co., according to the EPA.
Allenco has paid more than $200,000 in penalties to replace valves, service wells and clean the facility, the EPA said.
Despite the citations, Boxer said "the severe chemical odor problem has persisted."
No one answered the phone at Allenco's office in Los Angeles.
Last month, state air regulators told residents that air sampling taken from the neighborhood has not turned up dangerous odor levels. The South Coast Air Quality Management District plans to continue monitoring.
Several housing projects and schools surround the Allenco site. The company leases the land from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
University Park residents are not the only ones pushing back against urban oil fields. Residents in Baldwin Hills, Culver City and Whittier have complained about increased oil production activities in their neighborhoods.