Los Angeles to Sue to Make Company Expansion Comply with Regulations

The city of Los Angeles will join in a lawsuit against Industrial Service Oil Co., a Boyle Heights' oil and antifreeze recycling plant, and the state of California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), according to an Aug. 19 press release.

The city joins the Community Redevelopment Agency-LA's legal action that contends that the company is seeking to expand its operations and has inadequately addressed environmental concerns for the project. Councilmember Jose Huizar recommended the city join the legal action.

"With this lawsuit we're telling [the company] that you can't ignore your obligations to the health and safety of the residents of Boyle Heights," said Huizar. "Far too often, people who live in low-income communities are exposed to environmental hazards that those in more affluent communities are not. Today, the city attorney and I are saying, it doesn't matter if you live in Boyle Heights or Brentwood, we're going to protect you from undue exposure to cancer-causing toxins."

The state's DTSC, which has issued a permit to the company, is also named in the lawsuit. The city of Los Angeles contends that for nearly two decades, the company has operated under an interim DTSC permit and that the newly issued final DTSC permit is based in part on an inadequate environmental document that contains inaccuracies and does not properly address significant environmental concerns related to the proposed expansion.

Huizar said that the state agency has superseded the city's rights by issuing a permit to the company.

"With all due respect, the DTSC has overstepped its authority," Huizar said. "And we're hoping the court agrees with us that it is very important not to take away crucial environmental safety requirements where they matter most, the local level."

Industrial Service Oil Co. is looking to intensify operations and house a wider range of hazardous and toxic material, including wastewater, sludge, and a myriad of other chemical contaminants known to be hazardous, cancer-causing agents. The proposed plan would nearly double the size of the physical plant. The company's plans to expand have been met with strong opposition from Boyle Heights residents.

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