PORTER RANCH, CA – JANUARY 16: A woman holds a sign while attending a public hearing before the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) regarding a proposed stipulated abatement order to stop a nearby massive natural gas leak, on January 16, 2016 in Granada Hills, near Porter Ranch, California. More than 80,000 metric tons of methane gas have spewed from the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility since October 23, causing thousands of Porter Ranch residents to leave their homes, and the closures of two schools where students are being bussed to campuses farther away from the gas. State officials are now concerned that a seventh attempt to plug the well may have increased the chance of a blowout, which would greatly increase the release of gas as well as the risk of a massive well fire if ignited by a spark. The Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) hopes to repair the leak by sometime in March.
A group of Porter Ranch residents have filed a pre-suit notice on Southern California Gas Co. over alleged exposure to Proposition 65 chemicals resulting from a gas leak at a storage facility that has been ongoing since October.
R. Rex Parris, the attorney who is representing the plaintiffs — and is mayor of the City of Lancaster in northern Los Angeles County — said that the plaintiffs are concerned not only about the chemicals being released into the air, but about potential contamination of the water table.
The notice alleges that Southern California Gas has discharged benzene, toluene, ethylbenze, Radionuclides and sulfur dioxide into a source of drinking water.
The notice alleges that Southern California Gas’ injection wells are allowing the listed chemicals to permeate into the groundwa
ter, and notes that the Los Angeles Regional Water Control Board’s Bulletin 118 confirms the discharge is entering the San Fernando Valley Basin—which in large part is designated as a municipal and domestic source of water—including drinking water.
According to the resident’s notice, the discharges have been ongoing since approximately October 23, 2015, the date the gas leak was discovered. Residents of Porter Ranch and Aliso Canyon formed the organization Save Porter Ranch to force Southern California Gas Co. to stop the alleged discharge of Proposition 65 listed chemicals into the air and sources of drinking water.
Since Save Porter Ranch served its notice on Southern California Gas Co, law enforcement agencies and air quality regulators have taken action against the utility.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey filed criminal charges against Southern California Gas Co. on Feb. 2.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) on Jan. 26 sued Southern California Gas, alleging the company was negligent in a massive gas well leak that has forced thousands to leave their homes. The lawsuit was filed days after the AQMD issued an abatement order that requires the gas company to permanently shut down the damaged well, establish a leak detection system and conduct an independent health study.
The lawsuit alleges the gas company violated air quality regulations and state law for each day that the well continues to leak, and blames the utility for a sluggish response to a regional public health threat. The suit seeks up to $250,000 in civil penalties for each day that a specific violation has occurred.