Los Angeles Orders Oil Well to Be Shut Down & Cleaned Up After Pressure From Christian Activists

The urban drilling site, center, is located around residential areas. Photo courtesy of Google Maps

After years of advocating by community and faith organizations, the city of Los Angeles is officially requiring an oil and gas company to close and clean up a neighborhood drill site.

“It’s one of the closest sites to residential homes within the whole city,” said Niki Wong, director of policy and organizing at Redeemer Community Partnership, a local faith group. “You can literally place one hand on a bedroom window and another hand on the drill site wall.”

The site on Jefferson Boulevard, near the University of Southern California, is 130 feet from a church and 730 feet from an elementary school, according to Stand-L.A., a local environmental coalition that includes faith-based groups.

The decision to clean up the site came after Redeemer Community Partnership learned in August that AllenCo, which owns the property, planned to shut down the facility.

Owners told the city they were preparing the site for another use “yet to be determined.” That left organizers feeling uneasy about the future.

The nonprofit began working to make sure the closure and cleanup are done in a timely manner and that the site isn’t left as an “orphan well,” abandoned by the company.

“They’re very toxic, industrial sites. They operate in a way that requires a lot of chemicals,” Wong said. “There have been so many people that have gotten sick.”

City officials found “there was sufficient evidence that the operator intends to abandon the oil drilling facility.”

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Source: Religion News Service