Los Angeles prosecutors have filed criminal charges against Southern California Gas Company for a continuous massive leak of 128,000 pounds of methane per hour in California’s San Fernando Valley. The 4 misdemeanors accuse the Company of failing to report the release of hazardous materials and discharging air contaminants.
The methane leak, which began on October 23, 2015 and was plugged in early 2016, has sickened numerous residents of Porter Ranch, required relocation of 6,600+ households, and necessitated closure of 2 area schools.
Southern California Gas Company, a division of Sempra Energy, also faces a slew of civil suits due to the gas leak:
– a civil complaint was brought in December 2015 by the Los Angeles City attorney, joined by Los Angeles County;
– California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris has also sued the Company, accusing it of violating state health and safety laws by failing to promptly control the escaping gas and report the leak to authorities;
– South Coast Air Quality Management District filed suit against the company seeking civil penalties of up to $250,000 per day for each of six pollution-related health and safety code violations; and
– At least 20 private lawsuits have been filed in behalf of Porter Ranch residents.
According to the Southern California Gas Company the Company has stopped the methane leak, however many residents now do not trust the Company on the matter. No doubt this will play out in the courts for years to come. At present, the costs related to the leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility have reached an estimated $665 million.
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.