Porter Ranch: Residents will get more time to move home after leak is stopped

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Porter Ranch residents were only set to get 48 hours to move home from temporary accommodations after the gas leak is stopped under a proposal from the Southern California Gas Company, but now they're set to get more time under a deal between SoCal Gas and Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, according to a press release.

“After finding their lives upended for months, Porter Ranch residents deserve a reasonable amount of time to move back into their homes — following independent assurance the leak truly has been stopped," Feuer said in the release.

L.A. City Councilmember Mitchell Englander is asking the Department of Oil and Geothermal Resources to work with the L.A. County Department of Health to make sure that the homes of those affected are safe before they return, according to the release.

The key points of the new agreement, according to the release:

  • After SoCal Gas seals the leak, it notifies the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources.
  • The Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources works with independent experts to determine if the leak has actually been stopped.
  • After written confirmation from the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources is issued, Porter Ranch residents in hotels will get up to eight days and seven nights to move out and back home.
  • Those who have moved somewhere with a lease will have their rent and other costs (examples include utilities, rental, furniture and gardening service) paid for through the term of the lease by SoCal Gas.
  • Those who relocated to apartments or single-family homes will have up to $500 of moving expenses reimbursed.
  • Residents with special circumstances, such as disabilities, will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • SoCal Gas will confer with the L.A. City Attorney's Office about other extraordinary circumstances on a case-by-case basis.
  • SoCal Gas will reimburse "reasonable" mileage expenses through the rest of the school year for those who enrolled their children in schools outside of the Porter Ranch area

"The previous 48-hour timeframe proposed by SoCal Gas was unreasonable and inhumane," Englander said in the release. "This is not just about returning home, it is about a safe return home."

That's not good enough for Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who represents Porter Ranch and surrounding communities. He wants SoCal Gas to continue paying relocation costs for up to 30 days after the leak is declared fixed.

“The County Department of Public Health has determined that once the once the well is sealed and the emissions cease, the time needed for a comprehensive evaluation of the air monitoring results is 30 days,”  Antonovich said in a statement.

He has called on fellow supervisors to sign onto a  letter to the gas company and Feuers office urging them to reconsider the deadline.

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