A company that drills for oil at a field close to apartments in South Los Angeles, to the consternation of residents, says it plans to give up petroleum production at the site.
Sentinel Peak Resources turned in paperwork Monday saying that it plans to abandon the wells and prepare the site for another use, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The move comes nearly a year after Los Angeles demanded the company follow new and stringent rules to keep operating the Jefferson Boulevard facility. Those rules were billed by officials as the toughest requirements for any drill site in the city.
Sentinel Peak Resources had bristled at the demands and filed a lawsuit, arguing that the city had imposed “unduly oppressive’’ conditions that were not based on proven violations. It complained that the new requirements, including the demand to erect a 45-foot-tall enclosure around drilling equipment, would force the company to curtail or cease its operations there.
In paperwork filed with the city, Sentinel Peak Resources said it was seeking to modify the rules for operating the South L.A. site while it went through the process of abandoning the wells, which it estimated could take as long as three years.
Filing the paperwork is only the first step in a process that will include a public hearing, according to the city.
The news was celebrated by environmental and community activists who have held rallies and complained at City Hall about foul smells and thundering noise from the facility. Activists worried about urban drilling have referred to a community Health Councils study that found the Jefferson Boulevard drilling site sits closer to homes than any other in the city.
Two years ago, the city announced the hiring of a petroleum administrator to oversee oil and gas operations across Los Angeles — a job hat had not been filled consistently for decades. That was a good step, City Controller Ron Galperin said in a recent report, but L.A. has continued to suffer from a “lax and reactive’’ approach to checking if oil sites are in line with city conditions.