Today, Congressmember Karen Bass released the following statement in reaction to recent reports of illness linked to oil drilling in the University Park neighborhood of South Los Angeles:
"I am deeply concerned to hear that children and families are experiencing dizziness, headaches, and nosebleeds that may be caused by poor air quality and odors emanating from urban oil fields in South Los Angeles. We must immediately investigate these serious public health concerns.
While I am encouraged that the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SQAQMD) is holding a town hall to discuss air quality concerns at the Allenco Energy site this week, it is critical that all regional and national oversight entities not only listen, but immediately investigate the problems experienced by the residents. University Park residents deserve to breathe clean air and play outside without fear of toxic odors.
I look forward to working alongside Senator Barbara Boxer and local elected officials to bring to bear the resources of all relevant departments and agencies. We have already sent letters and inquiries to the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Frustratingly, the unnecessary government shutdown has halted federal spending and impeded the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to investigate this situation. Yet, I will continue to push for safeguards until we can guarantee the safety of the oil operations within all South Los Angeles neighborhoods."
On Wednesday, October 16, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) will host a town hall meeting to discuss air quality and odors in the University Park neighborhood surrounding Allenco Oil Company. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, residents in the community say they have suffered from respiratory ailments, headaches and nosebleeds since 2010, when Allenco ramped up production at its wells by more than 400%. Neighbors complained to state air quality officials 251 times from 2010 to 2013. As a result, the South Coast Air Quality Management District responded by issuing 15 citations against Allenco for foul odors.