LOS ANGELES—Calling it an ongoing public health emergency, City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that he has filed a lawsuit against the Southern California Gas Company over the leak at their natural gas storage facility near Porter Ranch in the Northwest San Fernando Valley.
“No community should have to endure what Porter Ranch residents have suffered from the Gas Company's failure to stop the Aliso Canyon gas leak,” said Feuer. “It's not only the odor--it's the potential health issues from long-term exposure to chemicals including benzene; the impact on the daily lives of thousands of families; and the enormous greenhouse gas emissions that remain unmitigated. We're suing to require everything necessary to stop the leak, assure this never happens again, counteract the consequences of dangerous emissions and hold the Gas Company accountable for the harm it's caused."
Feuer’s suit seeks to put into effect judicially enforceable steps including:
• Ensuring the leak is repaired as quickly as possible.
• Ensuring the causes of the leak, and the reasons for the inordinate delay in fixing it, are fully understood and action plans put in place to prevent a reoccurrence of this type of event.
• Ensure that any systemic deficiencies in the operation of all wells and other infrastructure at the Aliso Canyon facility and similar storage facilities are appropriately addressed.
• Address the consequences of the emission of a massive volume of greenhouse gas from this site into the environment.
• Impose civil penalties.
“For weeks I have joined with other City leaders in demanding swift action from So Cal Gas and their leadership, including last week when I visited the site of the leak. With the holidays upon us, the people of Porter Ranch have no more time to wait," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "What we need to see now is accountability and results. This lawsuit is am important tool to ensure we protect residents and the environment. SoCal Gas needs to take immediate action to rectify this environmental disaster, they need to take responsibility for the long term impacts this will cause and make a commitment to making this right for the people of Porter Ranch - and all of Los Angeles."
"It is clear that the Southern California Gas Company has been negligent in their responsibility to protect public health and safety with their operations and has caused real harm to their host community. People are sick and families have been displaced....possibly for months, with the true, long-term health effects as yet unknown," said Councilmember Mitchell Englander whose district includes Porter Ranch. "I want to thank City Attorney Mike Feuer for working closely with my office to treat this crisis with the urgency it deserves and to hold those accountable who have violated the public trust."
On or about October 23rd So Cal Gas’ Aliso Canyon underground gas storage facility suffered a well failure resulting in a gas leak. The leak continues to this day with residents suffering nausea, dizziness, nosebleeds and headaches and hundreds have relocated as of today.
“The failure of the well should never have happened,” states Feuer’s complaint against So Cal Gas. “The incredible duration of the crisis should have been avoided, and would have been avoided had So Cal Gas established and promptly implemented appropriate contingency plans for such an event, and pre-placed adequate mechanical and technical resources at the site to swiftly end the leak. Instead So Cal Gas engaged in unlawful and unfair business practices, creating conditions which allowed the well to fail, and exacerbating the effects of the failure by allowing the acute odor and health problems faced by the community to persist for more than one month, to say nothing about the indefinite time it will persist into the future.”