[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Santa Clarita CA
Partly cloudy
Partly cloudy
Today in
S.C.V. History
December 9
1983 - U.S. release of John Carpenter's "Christine;" blew up fake gas station in Valencia [watch scene (R)]

LOS ANGELES — A $119.5 million settlement has been tentatively reached with the Southern California Gas Company over the unprecedented natural gas leak from a ruptured well at its Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility in Porter Ranch, California.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with the California Air Resources Board, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, and the County of Los Angeles made the announcement in a joint news conference Wednesday morning.

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.

Today’s settlement is the result of lengthy settlement negotiations between the parties. The settlement is subject to approval by the Los Angeles Superior Court, and, if approved, will resolve all claims alleged in these lawsuits.

“There is no excuse for what happened. For over four months, this leak exposed our communities to natural gas emissions that resulted in adverse health impacts and disrupted the lives of tens of thousands of Californians – displacing two area schools and driving residents from their homes,” Becerra said.

“California is a leader when it comes to addressing climate change,” he said. “This leak undermined our crucial work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect our people and the environment. If approved, this settlement will go a long way in addressing the short and long-term harms attributable to the leak.”

“This agreement will not only address the needs of communities directly affected by the leak, but will have a positive impact by providing funding for a broad range of air quality improvement projects,” said CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey. “The settlement will also help reduce California’s methane emissions well into the future through transformative investment to curb emissions from industrial dairies, the state’s largest methane source.”

“When my office filed our lawsuit against SoCalGas, 975 days ago, I had three key goals: that there be a judicially-enforceable climate change mitigation plan; that strong measures are in place to prevent a disaster like this from happening again; and that SoCalGas be held accountable,” Feuer said.

“We’ve achieved these goals, and much more,” Feuer said. “We’ve also secured important health and safety protections for the Porter Ranch community, as well as underserved communities throughout Los Angeles. This landmark settlement will benefit Los Angeles for decades to come.”

“The County has fought hard to mitigate the damage this disaster had on our residents in Porter Ranch and nearby communities,” said LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “To continue this vital effort, this settlement provides funding for a long-term study of health impacts the gas leak had on the residents as well as funding for ongoing air quality monitoring of emissions from the facility.”

In a separate statement, Barger elaborated.

“Today, we are ensuring justice to the residents of the North San Fernando Valley that is long overdue,” she said. For over two and a half years, this community has endured such upheaval. At last, we have a comprehensive tentative settlement that meets this community’s and my priorities.

“Since the Aliso Canyon disaster, thousands of residents were displaced from their homes and suffered health concerns,” Barger said. “This tentative settlement includes the funds necessary to conduct the vital health study, which has been the community’s number one priority as well as mine. There is $25 million earmarked for the long-term health study, which our residents so desperately need and deserve. This $25 million is rightfully the largest single allocation in this settlement.

“The settlement also funds a new independent air monitoring and symptom reporting system, administered and operated by a third party – not the gas company. This system will provide much-needed transparency, accountability, and ultimately peace of mind to our community.

“We fought aggressively in court to win relocation benefits, reimbursements, and home cleaning for residents. SoCalGas has issued over $75 million in reimbursements for temporary relocation to residents and other expenses.

“Los Angeles County’s lawsuit put pressure on SoCalGas and regulators, which led to significant testing and safety improvements not only at Aliso Canyon, but at other gas storage fields in the county. But, the story doesn’t end here.

“While we have come a long way, we still have a long way to go,” Barger said. “My office will be active in the formation and review of the health study and will continue to fight for our Porter Ranch residents. This tentative settlement, which I hope will be approved by the court after the next 60 days, marks the first step toward healing for Porter Ranch. The community has my continued commitment to remain a proactive advocate and leader every step of the way.”

The joint statement continued.

“Our first priority is protecting the health, safety, and well-being of every family who calls L.A. home,” said LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. “There is no way to fully compensate the people of Porter Ranch for all they endured during the Aliso Canyon disaster, but the residents of this neighborhood deserve justice — and this settlement would be an essential step forward in helping the community recover.”

“This settlement represents a positive first step in what is an ongoing effort to mitigate the lingering effects of the largest gas leak in U.S. history,” said LA City Councilmember Mitchell Englander. “As Councilmember representing the nearly 20,000 people displaced by this environmental disaster, I will continue to demand accountability and stringent safety requirements at the facility.”

Addressing the needs of those affected by the leak, particularly the Porter Ranch community, and mitigating the environmental impacts of the leak were central priorities for Attorney General Becerra, CARB, City Attorney Feuer, and the county.

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; and

* Additional Environmental Benefits, including programs that will: provide air filtration systems in public schools; expand the LA County Breathmobile program, which provides much-needed pediatric asthma prevention and management services to children at no cost to families; develop new local air monitoring networks in underserved areas; provide electric buses for public schools in heavily polluted areas; and conduct lead paint abatement at certain areas in LA County.

In addition, the settlement will establish a fund to provide grants for other air pollution reduction projects.

A detailed breakdown of additional environmental projects resulting from the settlement is available HERE.

The settlement has been lodged with the court. There will be a 35-day public comment period on the Mitigation Agreement, a portion of the settlement which details how SoCalGas will mitigate the environmental impacts of the methane that was released during the leak.

After the public comment period, and within 60 days after lodging the settlement, the parties will file a request that the court approve the settlement.

A copy of the settlement is available HERE. A link to CARB’s public notice regarding the comment period can be found HERE.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. What a scam. People all forget natural gas is lighter than air and goes straight up.

Leave a Comment

SCV NewsBreak
Friday, Dec 7, 2018
Dec. 11: Supes May OK Centennial at Tejon Ranch Development
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will hear comments from the public about the proposed Centennial Specific Plan Project at their next meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Friday, Dec 7, 2018
DA’s, Amazon Settle Force-Fed Foie Gras Online Sales Case
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced Friday that Amazon.com Inc. has agreed not to sell force-fed foie gras in California under a consumer protection settlement reached with her office and the Monterey County and Santa Clara County district attorney’s offices.
Friday, Dec 7, 2018
LA County Agrees to More Mental Health Help for Inmates
People with mental health issues and dementia who are released from Los Angeles County jails will be given medications and connections to organizations that can keep them from becoming homeless, according to an update of a settlement agreement reached Thursday.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1983 - U.S. release of John Carpenter's "Christine;" blew up fake gas station in Valencia [watch scene (R)]
1941 - Julius Dietzmann family of Castaic arrested as German enemy aliens [story]
Valencia-based H2scan has announced the Gen 5 System, a first of its kind hydrogen sensor package to help utilities monitor and protect their distribution transformers.
Valencia’s H2scan Unveils New Transformer Monitoring System
CalArts graduates are among the nominees for Golden Globe Awards the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced on Monday, recognizing excellence in domestic and foreign film and television.
CalArtians ‘Glow’ in 76th Golden Globes Nominations
The California Department of Education and the State Board of Education have launched the second version of the California School Dashboard, a website that gives parents, students and educators access to valuable school and district data.
State Launches 2018 School Dashboard; Hart Schools Score Well
The TMU Mustangs played a dominant defensive effort Thursday, holding Hope International scoreless in the third quarter of what became a 76-47 win.
TMU Women’s Basketball Team Nets Win Over Hope Int’l
The nonprofit Friends of Hart Park, in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, will present the 7th Annual Hart Holiday Boutique & Craft Fair at Hart Park on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8-9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
Dec. 8-9: Holiday Boutique, Craft Fair at Hart Park
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will hear comments from the public about the proposed Centennial Specific Plan Project at their next meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Dec. 11: Supes May OK Centennial at Tejon Ranch Development
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, Dec. 11, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Dec. 11: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Castaic School Board members held their Annual Organizational Meeting on Dec. 6, and elected officers and representatives of the Board for 2019.
Castaic School Board Elects Officers, Reps for 2019
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced Friday that Amazon.com Inc. has agreed not to sell force-fed foie gras in California under a consumer protection settlement reached with her office and the Monterey County and Santa Clara County district attorney’s offices.
DA’s, Amazon Settle Force-Fed Foie Gras Online Sales Case
People with mental health issues and dementia who are released from Los Angeles County jails will be given medications and connections to organizations that can keep them from becoming homeless, according to an update of a settlement agreement reached Thursday.
LA County Agrees to More Mental Health Help for Inmates
California Highway Patrol officials have determined Ventura County Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus died after he was struck by a bullet from a CHP officer's weapon during the Borderline Bar shooting in Thousand Oaks Nov. 7.
CHP: Ventura Sheriff Sgt. Killed by Friendly Fire in Borderline Shooting
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has joined a bipartisan working group of 40 state attorneys general seeking to end illegal robocalls, he announced Friday.
State AG’s Push Feds to Stop Robocalls
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority has put out a call for volunteers to help count homeless individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley on Wednesday night, Jan. 23.
Jan. 23: Volunteers Sought for SCV Homeless Count
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold its next meetings at City Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Dec. 11: Re-elected City Council Members, New Mayor to be Sworn In
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the addition of four new board members joining the 2019 Board of Directors
SCV Chamber of Commerce Adds 4 to Board
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff' Station deputies arrested a North Carolina man on felony and misdemeanor drug charges in Castaic Thursday morning.
North Carolina Man Arrested on Drug Charges in Castaic
As holiday shoppers crowd store and mall parking lots, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reminds Californians to “Save the Space” designated for disabled individuals who legally display disabled person parking placards.
DMV: ‘Save the Space’ for Holiday Shoppers with Disabilities
1921 - William S. Hart marries actress Winifred Westover [story]
Despite affordability challenges, California renters continue to hold homeownership in high regard and aspire to purchase a home eventually, according to a consumer survey recently released by the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R).
Survey Finds CA Renters Still Have High Regard for Homeownership
Santa Clarita-based landscaping firm Stay Green, Inc. has been recognized in a statewide competition, bringing home three first-place awards and an Outstanding Achievement award for maintenance projects big and small.
Local Landscape Firm Recognized in Statewide Competition
SAN DIEGO - A group of investors working with Johnson Fistel, LLP, The Concerned Shareholders of Big 5 Group (the "CSB5 Group") believes these are desperate times for Big 5 Sporting Goods Corporation.
Investors Make Play for Big 5 Sporting Goods Chain
Sarah Delawder, currently an assistant principal at Valencia High School, will become the assistant principal at Castaic High School.
Hart District Names Assistant Principal for Castaic High School
Because of the recent rainfall, Los Angeles County Health Officer, Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, is cautioning residents who are planning to visit Los Angeles County beaches to avoid swimming, surfing, and playing in ocean waters around discharging storm drains, creeks, and rivers.
Advisory Issued for all LA County Beaches Until Sunday
NORTHRIDGE - Sophomore Terrell Gomez posted a career-high 26 points to go with five 3-pointers while senior Blair Orr registered a career-best 15 points and six rebounds as CSUN Men's Basketball (3-5) defeated Cal State San Marcos, 76-72, on Wednesday evening at The Matadome.
Sophomore Gomez Propels Matadors to Victory
NORTHRIDGE - CSUN returns home for a pair of women's basketball games this week. The Matadors get the action underway Friday night when CSUN welcomes Loyola Marymount.
Matadors Return Home to Host LMU, SDSU
To help lower the risk of possible natural gas and electricity shortages this winter, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) recently announced the launch of a new energy conservation alert program designed to raise awareness about ways Southern Californians can reduce their natural gas use during periods of cold weather this winter.
SoCalGas Encouraging Customers to ‘Dial it Down’ with New Alert Program
The CalArts School of Theater production, Through the Leaves," directed by Brittney Brady (BFA 20), opens on Thursday, Dec. 6, and runs through the following Thursday, Dec. 13.
Dec. 6-13: CalArts School of Theater Presents ‘Though the Leaves’
The Governing Board of the Castaic Union School District will hold an organizational meeting Thursday, Dec. 6, at 6:00 P.M. in the Board Room of the district office.
Dec. 6: CUSD Governing Board Organizational Meeting
The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), in coordination with Los Angeles County Public Works, will provide debris removal for homes destroyed by the Woolsey Fire at no cost to property owners and residents.
County Public Works to Provide Free Woolsey Fire Debris Removal
Princess Cruises recently announced that it is now preparing Regal Princess as the second ship fully activated with Princess MedallionClass experiences that are currently delivering enhanced and personalized cruise vacations to guests onboard Caribbean Princess.
OceanMedallion Interactive Device Expands to Regal Princess
Officials at California State University, Northridge, released a statement Wednesday regarding graffiti that was found in one of the buildings on campus - graffiti that included a threat of a mass shooting and hate symbols.
CSUN Responds to Mass Shooting Threat, Hate Symbols Found on Campus
The U.S. Forest Service will soon start annual prescribed burning operations on the Angeles National Forest to reduce the risk of wildfire and protect the communities within and adjacent to the forest.
Forest Service to Begin Prescribed Burning Operations
1864 - Actor William S. Hart born in Newburgh, New York [Hart Index]
The city of Santa Clarita is set to honor the memory of Fereydoon Ghaffari, designer of Valencia's first pedestrian walkways, at the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission's meeting in Council Chambers at City Hall on Thursday, Dec. 6.
Dec. 6: City to Honor Man Who Pioneered Valencia Walkways