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Los Angeles school district officials on Thursday authorized their legal staff to sue Southern California Gas Co. if necessary to recoup substantial costs piling up as a result of a leak in a natural gas storage well in Aliso Canyon.

The most significant expense so far is the Board of Education’s decision, at the same meeting Thursday, to support a plan to relocate students and staff members at two Porter Ranch schools affected by the fumes.

The district did not release figures at its meeting because officials said they were still tallying the costs involved, said Mark Hovatter, head of facilities for the nation’s second-largest school system.

Attorneys from the gas company met Dec. 11 with Los Angeles schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines and other district officials, but the energy company made no commitment, Hovatter said.

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