South Los Angeles Residents Fuming Over Oil field

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District’s top brass faced a frustrated crowd at a town hall meeting Wednesday, during which more than 100 South Los Angeles residents criticized the agency’s inability to say whether fumes from an oil field are hazardous.


Nancy Halpern Ibrahim, executive director of Esperanza Community Housing Corp., speaks during the town hall meeting. She holds a foam head depicting some of the systems residents are experiencing, such as headaches and nosebleeds. (credit: Los Angeles Times)

Some of those gathered in an auditorium at the Doheny Campus of Mount St. Mary’s College cradled Styrofoam model heads pierced with sewing needles or bound in rope to demonstrate ailments they believe are linked to the oil pumping operation: dizziness, chronic fatigue, severe headaches and nose bleeds.

Barry Wallerstein, the agency’s executive director, assured the crowd that air samples taken on the land Allenco Energy Co. leases from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles have not shown dangerous levels of toxic substances.

Flanked by seven of his top officers, Wallerstein said more air samples will be taken in what he described as a matter of “extremely high priority for us.”

Click here to read the full story on