BEVERLY HILLS—The city of Beverly Hills has capped its last remaining oil well within the Beverly Hills Unified School District. The project took a projected $40 million to manage the responsibilities to maintain and plug the oil wells on the Beverly Hills High School campus.
There were a total of 19 oil wells within the Beverly Hills Unified School District property, the finale cap was accomplished just in October.
”We’ve done all the major plugging and now we’re just doing quality control touch-ups,” said Shana Epstein, Director of Public Works for the city of Beverly Hills.
The school district was responsible for the clean up of decades of oil extraction after the energy company Venoco Inc. filed for bankruptcy back in April 2017. Venoco had a $1.1 million annual lease within the BHUSD at which they would retract roughly 300 barrels worth of oil a day.
After filing for bankruptcy a judge ruled that Venoco had no further responsibilities to the upkeeping of oil sites therefor leaving the BHUSD with the task of monitoring and plugging of the remaining wells.
As funding of the project was mentioned, the city council helped contribute $11 million towards the project. The city agreed to $8 million, but later to $11 million after the means to the project were more clear.
President of the BHUSD Board of Education, Isabel Hacker confirmed that the project did require financial assistance. The project is being funded by the Measure BH, a bill passed by residents in 2018 for a $385 million construction bond. The remaining oil wells have been fixed and the school district plans to take care of any additional cost using the remaining Measure BH funds to renovate the high school.
To date, the BHUSD has not identified any additional abandoned oil wells.