Nearly three years after a massive leak broke out at a gas storage field near Porter Ranch, several local government agencies announced they have settled their lawsuits against Southern California Gas Co. The company will pay out nearly $120 million under the agreement.
If approved by a Superior Court judge, the settlement will end the cases that the city of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County and the state of California brought against SoCal Gas.
The agreement earmarks up to $34 million to offset the environmental damage caused by the methane that leaked from a broken well at the Aliso Canyon underground gas storage field.
It funds a $25 million health study of Porter Ranch residents, part of a larger $45.4 million package of environmental spending. There is $21 million in civil penalties that will fund consumer protection programs, and $19 million to cover the government plaintiffs’ legal costs.
But the settlement is silent on closing the gas field forever.
"I’m not satisfied with where we are with the regulators in the state of California in terms of closing this facility down," said City Councilman Mitchell Englander, who represents Porter Ranch and other San Fernando Valley areas.
Shutting down the gas field will be up to the state Public Utilities Commission. Gov. Jerry Brown has called for the field to close by 2027. Read more on LAist.
This story is part of Elemental: Covering Sustainability, a new multimedia collaboration between Cronkite News, Arizona PBS, KJZZ, KPCC, Rocky Mountain PBS and PBS SoCal.