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|June 25, 2019|
Multi-million dollar settlement reached in Aliso Canyon gas leak
LOS ANGELES – (INT) - A $119.5 million settlement with the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) over the unprecedented natural gas leak from a ruptured well at its Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility in Porter Ranch was announced Wednesday.
Discovered on October 23, 2015, the leak caused natural gas to flow into the air for several months, releasing up to 109,000 metric tons of methane into the environment before the well was sealed in February 2016.
The Attorney General, CARB, the City Attorney, and the County filed lawsuits against SoCalGas. The settlement is the result of lengthy settlement negotiations between the California Attorney General, CARB, the City Attorney, and Los Angeles County and SoCalGas. The settlement is subject to approval by the Los Angeles Superior Court, and, if approved, will resolve all claims alleged in the lawsuits.
If approved by the court, the settlement will require SoCalGas to:
• Monitor methane at the Aliso Canyon facility’s fence line and post the data online in near real-time for eight years, with certain methane levels triggering new reporting requirements;
• Create a new internal safety committee which shall remain in place for eight years from approval of the settlement by the court;
• Retain an independent “safety ombudsman” to evaluate the internal safety committee’s work and report to the public, on safety-related issues at the Aliso Canyon facility for eight years following approval of the settlement by the court; and
• Refrain from shifting the cost of this settlement and actions taken to respond to the leak to SoCalGas’ ratepayers.
In addition, the settlement also will result in payments by SoCalGas totaling $119.5 million to be allocated toward:
• A long-term health study to assess direct health impacts of the leak;
• A local air monitoring network in Porter Ranch;
• A “Mitigation Fund,” which will be invested in dairy biogas-collection infrastructure in order to fully mitigate the 109,000 metric tons of methane emitted by the leak; Civil penalties for violations of California law, legal fees and investigative costs to be divided between the California Air Resources Board, California Department of Justice, the Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney and the County of Los Angeles.
In addition, the settlement will establish a fund to provide grants for other air pollution reduction projects.
Story Date: August 14, 2018