Standing at the gas pump, I was overcome with a sudden wave of dizziness and a blinding headache.
Because I only drive my car two or three times a year, putting gas in my tank is one of those typical LA past-times I am usually able to avoid. But on those rare occasions I do have to stop at a gas station, I am always shocked at the speed and intensity with which the gas fumes knock me on my arse.
“We really still have questions about the harm that can be done by fossil fuels…?” I asked my woozy self as I put the nozzle back in the pump.
My thoughts drifted to the active oil wells near USC (pictured above).
If I could barely stand to put three gallons in my tank, I wondered, how on earth were people dealing with living next door to a 2-acre oil field? Especially one where production had jumped by 400% to over 21,139 barrels in 2010 from 4,178 the year before?
As you might imagine, it hasn’t been that much fun for them.
Over the past three years, residents have lodged 251 complaints with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) about horrible odors, nausea, dizziness, headaches, nosebleeds, and respiratory ailments that they believe can be attributed to Allenco Energy Co.’s oil extraction activities.
And, lest anyone think their claims might have been exaggerated, several EPA officials that toured the facilities just this past October (in response to the complaints) reported being afflicted with “sore throats, coughing and severe headaches that lingered for hours,” according to Jared Blumenfeld, EPA Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. Read more…