SoCal Gas is now facing criminal charges, with Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey filing charges against the company for failing to immediately report the Porter Ranch natural gas leak to state authorities, as well as for the leak itself.
"While we recognize that neither the criminal charges nor the civil lawsuits will offer the residents of Los Angeles County a complete solution, it is important that Southern California Gas Co. be held responsible for its criminal actions," Lacey said in a statement. "I believe we can best serve our community using the sanctions available through a criminal conviction to prevent similar public health threats in the future."
The charges include four misdemeanor counts, three related to failing to report the release of hazardous materials between Oct. 23 and Oct. 26, with the other being for discharging air contaminants from Oct. 23, 2015 until present.
SoCal Gas faces fines of up to $25,000 a day for each day it didn't notice the California Office of Emergency Services, according to a release from the DA's office, as well as up to $1,000 per day for air pollution violations.