Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris on Tuesday joined those suing Southern California Gas Co. over the company’s Aliso Canyon natural gas blowout.
Noxious fumes from odorants in the leak that started in late October have driven residents out of more than 5,000 homes, the utility reports. In amending an ongoing civil suit filed in early December by Los Angeles city and county officials in Superior Court, the attorney general contends the litigation is necessary to hold the utility “accountable” for the release of some 80,000 metric tons of methane, a number that continues to grow. Harris is representing both her own office and the California Air Resources Board.
The revised joint complaint accuses Southern California Gas of violating health and safety codes, public nuisance laws and hazardous-materials-reporting requirements, as well as engaging in unfair business practices. The lawsuit seeks civil penalties, restitution and an injunction. Harris’ joining in the litigation brings to 11 the number of local, state and federal agencies now either investigating or suing the gas company.
Though the amount of gas escaping from the company’s Aliso Canyon underground storage field has fallen, the utility does not expect to be able to attempt to stop the leak until late this month.
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