Bankruptcy Judge Rules Venoco Not Responsible for Beverly Hills High Oil Well: William Ireland Quoted in Beverly Hills Courier Article

On May 31, a judge ruled that oil company Venoco, LLC is not responsible for decommissioning an oil well it has leased and operated at Beverly Hills High School since 1995. Venoco, a private oil and gas driller, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. In U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross’ order, he stated that as of “July 1, 2017, Venoco shall have no further responsibility to monitor the site.”

Partner William Ireland, counsel to Beverly Hills Unified School District, commented, “We are exploring all of our options in light of this ruling.”

The school district and City of Beverly Hills filed a joint suit in Delaware Bankruptcy Court to compel Venoco to remain on site and to comply with environmental laws. The suit also seeks to prevent the company from exhausting debtor estate resources that could be used for cleanup. Venoco is claiming the lease obligations were discharged by bankruptcy.

The school district estimates the cost of cleanup will be more than $10 million.

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June 2017