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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
40°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
February 23
1998 - Worst day of record-setting 1997-98 El Nino storm season [story]
El Nino


| Wednesday, Aug 8, 2018
 In this Dec. 9, 2015, file pool photo, crews work on a relief well at the Aliso Canyon facility above the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles. (Dean Musgrove/Los Angeles Daily News via AP, Pool, File)
In this Dec. 9, 2015, file pool photo, crews work on a relief well at the Aliso Canyon facility above the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles. (Dean Musgrove/Los Angeles Daily News via AP, Pool, File)

 

By Nathan Solis

LOS ANGELES – While a major California utility company agreed Wednesday to pay $119.5 million in penalties to settle California’s case over a massive methane leak at one of its storage facilities in 2015, state officials stressed this does not address the claims of thousands of residents who were forced to flee their homes for months.

The settlement with local and state government agencies requires Southern California Gas Company to pay for a $25 million health study and other changes to monitor the Aliso Canyon site and neighboring communities.

The Aliso Canyon methane blowout is the largest gas leak in U.S. history.

More than 100,000 tons of methane poured out from the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage site beginning in October 2015, prompting the evacuation of several nearby communities including Porter Ranch in the northwest region of Los Angeles.

About 8,000 families were forced out of their homes, some for months, as the utility company worked to fix the gas well. The leak was finally capped in February 2016.

Before the leak was discovered, however, residents reported headaches, nosebleeds and other health issues.

More than 400 lawsuits have been filed in Los Angeles Superior Court involving more than 48,000 plaintiffs, according to an earnings report from SoCalGas’ parent company. The company also said the leak has so far cost it $1 billion.

In a statement, SoCalGas said Wednesday’s settlement reimburses city, county and state governments for costs associated with the leak. The company said it will create a program with the California Air Resources Board to reduce methane gas emissions.

But California Attorney General Xavier Becerra noted the settlement does not affect the hundreds of pending lawsuits or address any investigations being conducted by the California Public Utilities Commission, which could add additional penalties.

“We require in the settlement that Southern California Gas refrain from shifting the costs of this settlement onto ratepayers who use SoCalGas facilities and utilities,” said Becerra at a press conference in Los Angeles.

Also, the agreement requires the utility to pay $3 million to monitor methane levels at the Aliso Canyon site, create a new internal safety committee which will be in place for eight years and assign a safety ombudsman to evaluate the safety committee’s work – a third party separate from the utility company who will lead town hall meetings.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti called the Porter Ranch episode a “traumatic event” that should make Angelenos “rethink our relationship with power production.”

State officials have set a closure date for the Aliso Canyon site, but it will continue operating for another decade.

The settlement was lodged with the LA County Superior Court. The public has 35 days to comment, after which the court will be asked to approve the settlement.

Ahead of the Wednesday’s press conference, Porter Ranch resident and outspoken SoCalGas critic Matt Pakucko was asked to leave the room. Officials told him the event was for credentialed media only. Outside, he told reporters the settlement was a publicity stunt.

“It’s a big payday nexus for the city, county and the state,” Pakucko said. “The victims get nothing. That money gets distributed to all sorts of places – nothing to do with what happened in the north San Fernando Valley. This is just some backroom BS.”

Pakucko is one of the thousands of plaintiffs suing SoCalGas. A trial date for some of those lawsuits has been set for December, more than three years after the blowout.

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.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Friday, Feb 22, 2019
Jury Hears How Accused Trucker Drove Safely Before Fatal Crash
The trucker accused of killing two women and four young children when his big rig hit a minivan two years ago showed no signs of weaving lanes, swerving or driving in a “serpentine manner” on the freeway before the crash, an investigator said in court Thursday.
Friday, Feb 22, 2019
Man’s Body Found in Canyon Country
Los Angeles County Fire Department officials reported finding a man deceased on the sidewalk of the 18200 block of Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country on Friday morning.
Friday, Feb 22, 2019
State Lawmakers Intro Bill to Fight Law-Evading Underground Economy
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, unveiled legislation, AB 1296, the Tax Recovery in the Underground Recovery program (TRUE Act), on Friday to combat underground economic crimes.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1998 - Worst day of record-setting 1997-98 El Nino storm season [story]
El Nino
The Lady Cougars basketball team took an eight-point advantage into the final quarter of play but could not finish off West L.A., letting a late lead slip for a 53-49 loss in the team's regular season finale.
Women’s Hoops: Cougars See Late Lead Slip at West LA
The Cougars played to a third place team finish and freshman Tom Sims took third in the individual standings at the Western State Conference event hosted by Santa Barbara City College at Alisal Ranch Golf Course.
Men’s Golf: Third-Place Cougars Finish Six Shots Back
The Mustangs beat Life Pacific 81-40 and enjoyed their first GSAC regular season title in program history on Thursday in San Dimas.
TMU Women’s Basketball Team Wins First GSAC Regular Season Title
The Master's University men's basketball team stepped onto Mehl Court with a dangerous opponent and much on the line Thursday and enforced its will, taking down Life Pacific 98-74.
Men’s Hoops: TMU Holds No. 1 Spot with Victory Over Life Pacific
Journey Werner is one of two Mustangs who have qualified for this month's NAIA nationals in three individual events. Master's has also qualified four relays.
TMU Swim Closes Conference Championships with Strong Showing
Structural racism in education, criminal justice, housing, employment and more have led to over-representation of black people experiencing homelessness, according to a new report from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
LAHSA Study ID’s Institutional Racism as Driver of Black Homelessness, Outlines Solutions
The Santa Clarita City Council at its next meeting Tuesday night will consider whether to support or oppose a handful of bills and resolutions, including the federal St. Francis Dam memorial bill.
Feb. 26: City Council to Consider Support of St. Francis Dam Bill, Other Pending Legislation
The trucker accused of killing two women and four young children when his big rig hit a minivan two years ago showed no signs of weaving lanes, swerving or driving in a “serpentine manner” on the freeway before the crash, an investigator said in court Thursday.
Jury Hears How Accused Trucker Drove Safely Before Fatal Crash
City of Santa Clarita officials, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department staff and county representatives joined the community in thanking the brave, hardworking men and women of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
Santa Clarita Officials Thank Sheriff’s Department for Reducing Local Crime
Los Angeles County Fire Department officials reported finding a man deceased on the sidewalk of the 18200 block of Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country on Friday morning.
Man’s Body Found in Canyon Country
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, Feb. 26, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Feb. 26: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, unveiled legislation, AB 1296, the Tax Recovery in the Underground Recovery program (TRUE Act), on Friday to combat underground economic crimes.
State Lawmakers Intro Bill to Fight Law-Evading Underground Economy
When Stephanie and Luis Estrada stepped into their yard around 8 p.m. Monday night, the couple spotted cracks in a few bricks lining their home. The next morning, the couple noticed their land was sliding,
Shifting Land Destroys Backyard, Threatens More Homes in Canyon Country
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors continues to make significant strides in preserving and increasing the stock of affordable housing throughout the county by approving the first of two rounds of investments that will bring to market a total of 1,562 units of affordable housing.
LA County Continues Investments to Increase Affordable Housing
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Assemblymember Marc Levine, D-North San Francisco, are seeking to bolster California’s consumer privacy laws with new legislation requiring businesses to notify customers when their passport numbers and biometric information have been compromised.
California Bill Aims to Give Privacy Law Sharper ‘Teeth’
The inventory of homes and condominiums listed for sale throughout the Santa Clarita Valley continued to rise during January even as high resale prices and seasonal forces combined to keep sales in check, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Friday.
Housing Inventory Up for 8th Month as Sales Slow, Prices Moderate
Three Southern California men conspired with a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy to steal cash and 1,200 pounds of marijuana in a sham warehouse raid staged to look like a police operation, federal authorities said Thursday.
Feds File More Charges in Bogus Raid of LA Pot Warehouse
California’s unique ability to set strict car emissions rules is on the chopping block after the Trump administration said Thursday it was ending talks with state officials over a new federal standard.
White House Scraps Talks With California on Auto Emissions
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra criticized the Trump-Pence Administration Friday for issuing its Title X family planning final rule, which restricts access to critical preventive healthcare including birth control and prohibits doctors from discussing abortion with patients or providing referrals for abortion.
California AG: Trump-Pence Title X Family Planning Rule Disregards Women’s Health, Rule of Law
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is leading a multistate amicus brief in support of a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s practice of unlawfully denying individuals access to the asylum process at ports of entry on the southern border.
States Support Suit Against Feds’ ‘Turnback Policy’ at Southern Border
A stolen car suspect was arrested at gunpoint early Thursday evening following an hour-long police pursuit that wound through Saugus and Valencia and ended up limping toward Val Verde with tires shredded by spike strips thrown down to stop him.
Car Theft Suspect Arrested After Chase into Valencia
1983 - Armed robber taken out at Alpha Beta supermarket on Lyons [story]
Alpha Beta market
Princess Cruises launched its first advertising campaign written and produced specifically for its international markets, titled "Princessa" on Wednesday.
Princess Cruises’ New Ad Campaign Targets Asian, Emerging Markets
Local residents were both pleasantly surprised and downright shocked when a weather system brought a mixture of hail, rain and snow to the Santa Clarita Valley Thursday.
Mixture of Rain, Hail, Snow Falls on SCV
On Saturday, Feb. 23, CalArts alum and composer Danny Wood (Music BFA 13) performs in concert, opening for Grammy-winning pianist Gloria Cheng.
CalArts Alum to Perform with Grammy-Winning Pianist Gloria Cheng
In the after-hours of Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3, a group of CalArts students gathered at El Cid in the Silver Lake neighborhood of L.A. for several hours of poetry and prose readings.
CalArtians Participate in Marathon Reading at El Cid
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers will honor the legacy of pitching great Don Newcombe, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 92, with a commemorative uniform number “36” patch, it was announced Thursday by Dodger President Stan Kasten.
Dodgers to Honor Don Newcombe with Uniform Patch
NORTHRIDGE - The CSUN women's tennis team returns to action at home Friday when the Matadors host Southeastern Louisiana University. The non-conference dual will begin at 1:00 p.m.
Matadors Return to Action Friday Against Southeastern Louisiana
The Saugus High School Band Program will be holding three separate fundraising nights over the next three months at the Vincenzo's Saugus location.
Saugus High Band Program to Hold 3 Fundraisers at Vincenzo’s
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Health Officer is extending a Cold Weather Alert due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for low temperatures. Wind chill temperatures are expected to be below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
SCV Cold Weather Alert Extended Until Sunday
After an 18-month-long process, Metrolink trains now have automated external defibrillators, including those on the Antelope Valley line, which serves the Santa Clarita Valley.
Metrolink Now Equipped with Defibrillators
The city of Santa Clarita is proud to announce a new community partnership with California Resources Corporation (CRC), the largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company, operating exclusively in California.
Oil Company Named Title Sponsor of 2019 Cowboy Festival
The next episode of, "S.W.A.T," which will air Thursday night, Feb. 21, will feature a very familiar studio.
SCVTV Studio to be Featured in ‘S.W.A.T’ Thursday Night
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – Reigniting their fight against soda companies they claim are fattening Californians, state lawmakers introduced a five-pack of bills Wednesday that includes a new tax and a cap on soda sizes.
State Lawmakers Intro Bills that Go After Soda Makers
Here is the list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for Feb. 27 - March 3:
Feb. 27 – March 3: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar