L.A. County Sues SoCal Gas Co. Over Reopening of Aliso Canyon Facility

The Aliso Canyon gas storage facility drew scrutiny when an natural gas leak forced residents in nearby Porter Ranch from their homes. (Credit: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

L.A. County is suing state regulators and Southern California Gas Co. for failing to conduct required safety and environmental studies and to turn over public documents before reopening the Aliso Canyon natural gas facility.

State regulators announced this week that Aliso Canyon could resume natural gas injections at a reduced capacity. From October 2015 to February 2016, the underground gas storage facility in Porter Ranch produced the largest leak of methane in U.S. history, prompting the relocation of thousands of residents and widespread outrage over the effect on public health.

“Today’s action reflects the Board of Supervisors’ commitment to protect the health and safety of our residents and to require the state to complete the legally mandated studies and mitigate all risks to the maximum extent possible,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose district includes Porter Ranch.

The county originally filed suit in March against the California Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, the California Public Utilities Commission and SoCalGas. In that suit, the county claimed the state had not conducted a comprehensive safety review of the facility or an environmental impact review as required by state laws.

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