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Gov. Brown Declares State of Emergency over Porter Ranch Gas Leak

On January 6, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over the ongoing gas leak at Southern California Gas Co.’s (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon storage facility. For more than two months, the leak has been spewing foul-smelling methane gas into the air. As of Dec. 22, it had released gas equivalent to 1.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. SoCalGas has admitted it may not be able to plug the leak until the end of March.

Gov. Brown’s declaration was accompanied by new regulations, including enhanced inspections and safety measures for all natural gas storage facilities in the state. The moves came after weeks of pressure from local officials, activists and Porter Ranch residents. People in the community have complained of a variety of health ailments, including headaches, nosebleeds and vomiting.

Under a previous order, SoCalGas is paying relocation costs for Porter Ranch residents. Citing ongoing disruptions including increased absences and nurse visits, LA Unified recently announced plans to relocate two local schools.

SoCalGas is already facing numerous lawsuits from lawsuits, including a class action that seeks to establish the groundwork necessary to obtain an injunction to halt operations at the Aliso Canyon facility.

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