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Boxer asks EPA to ensure safety of L.A. neighborhood near oil field

California senator wants the agency to address chemical odors wafting through University Park neighborhood from Allenco oil field.

Los Angeles Times By Louis Sahagun September 26, 2013, 9:43 p.m.

Sabino Valencia cleans son Jonathan's face after the boy had a nosebleed at their University Park home. Valencia is planning to move his family away from the neighborhood where he has lived for 22 years because two of his five children have nosebleeds nearly every day, and he believes the area is no longer a healthful place to live.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) asked federal environmental officials Thursday to ensure the safety of a low-income South Los Angeles community where residents worry that their dizziness, headaches and nosebleeds may be linked to noxious odors from an urban oil field.

In a terse letter, Boxer asked U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to “immediately address these unacceptable situations using all available and appropriate authorities.”

Boxer requested a response by Monday describing the steps that the EPA will take to address the chemical smells, which waft through the University Park neighborhood from an oil-pumping operation on land Allenco Energy Co. leases from the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Residents 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 over the next three years. The South Coast Air Quality Management District responded by issuing 15 citations against Allenco for foul odors.


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