header image

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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Partly cloudy
Partly cloudy
80°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 24
1855 - Sanford & Cyrus Lyon establish Lyon's Station (for stagecoaches) near today's Sierra Hwy & Newhall Ave [story]
Sanford Lyon


| Friday, Jun 28, 2019
 Equipment and machinery are seen on a ridge above Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon relief well. | Photo: Scott L./Wikipedia.

 

The Southern California Gas Company Tuesday asked a state utilities commission to exclude a damning report detailing the root causes of the 2015 Aliso Canyon methane blowout from the investigation of its safety culture, because a state employee who oversaw operations to close the leak contracted a rare form of cancer and is now suing the utility.

The state employee is one of thousands of plaintiffs suing SoCalGas and its parent company in civil court over the leak that spewed 100,000 tons of methane into Southern California for 111 days beginning in October 2015.

The largest methane gas blowout in the history of the U.S. exposed thousands of residents to harmful chemicals and forced them to flee from their homes, but it is just one of several episodes troubling the California Public Utilities Commission, which ordered an investigation into SoCalGas and its parent company’s prioritization of safety.

A report issued in May 2019 found that corroded pipes led to the blowout and detailed a lack of thorough safety inspects on a storage facility’s underground wells.

The site in northern Los Angeles County near Porter Ranch has not been properly maintained since the 1970s, according to the report. In 1988, an internal memo at the utility company recommended inspection of 20 wells to check on the condition of each well’s casing, but there was no overall review. One of those wells burst in 2015.

In the root cause analysis report authored by the third-party Blade Energy Partners and released by the California Public Utilities Commission last month, SoCal Gas was aware of prior leaks at its site but did not investigate.

On Thursday, Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen said the Blade report raised serious questions about SoCalGas’s risk assessment procedures.

“If SoCalGas had had a robust safety culture in place, there would have been a much better chance that it would have taken measures to avoid these incidents from occurring,” Rechtschaffen said.

Before the commission unanimously agreed Thursday to carry out the investigation, a representative from the utility company – Bay Area attorney Jack Stoddard from Morgan Lewis – asked that the Blade report be omitted from the commission’s investigation.

Stoddard said the Public Utilities Commission program manager Kenneth Bruno, who monitored the closure of the well at Aliso Canyon beginning on November 4, 2015, is now suing SoCalGas for negligence, strict liability for hazardous activities and other complaints.

Bruno said he contracted hairy cell leukemia, a rare form of cancer of the blood, which he claims was caused by exposure to chemicals while working at the Aliso Canyon site that he visited dozens of times.

SoCal Gas told Bruno to bring boots, a hardhat, pants and a jacket to the Aliso Canyon site while utility workers tried to cap the methane leak. Bruno should have been told to bring a respirator due to his exposure to benzene levels in the area, according to Bruno’s attorney Rex Parris.

“He would not have gone up there had he known the benzene levels he would have been exposed to,” Parris told Courthouse News. “In order to maintain this fiction, [SoCalGas] knowingly, willfully exposed their employees and state employees to intolerable conditions. They knew it.”

SoCalGas did not take adequate readings to gauge toxins in the air and did not warn Bruno to take off his clothes before getting into his car, or to dispose of them before going home to his wife and children, according to the complaint.

Bruno hired Blade Energy Partners to conduct its investigation into the cause of the blowout. The contractor wanted to analyze the tubing and casing around the pipe that burst and caused the massive blowout, but Sempra and SoCalGas sought to block Blade from this evidence, Bruno said in his complaint.

The utility company allegedly tried to pour cement into the piping and tubing underground, but Bruno “blocked Sempra and SoCalGas from destroying evidence.”

Parris is representing more than 9,000 plaintiffs suing SoCalGas, including 50 firefighters who were exposed to the same harmful chemicals when they lived in firehouses near the Aliso Canyon facility.

“We have children with leukemia due to the benzene exposure,” Parris said. “No one has ever attempted to find out why. How can you have thousands of people with nosebleeds? SoCalGas has been trying to suppress the findings of the report since the inception of the blowout.”

SoCalGas did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.

— By Nathan Solis

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. Thomas Graney says:

    The gas company gets the gas for free, then sells it at inflated prices. But can’t maintain there faculties..And wants to hide their greedy actions from the people.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Friday, Sep 23, 2022
Oct. 12: Boys & Girls Club SCV Celebrating 30 Years
Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley announces the 30-year celebration of the James T. Ventress Clubhouse in Newhall Park on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 8 a.m.
Friday, Sep 23, 2022
L.A. County Launches Veteran Suicide Review Team
On Thursday, Sept. 29, Los Angeles County will officially launch the Veteran Suicide Review Team, a collaborative between the city of Los Angeles, County, federal and private agencies to reduce veteran suicide in L.A. County.
Friday, Sep 23, 2022
Parents Invited to Virtual Town Hall with State Schools Chief
SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will host a virtual Back-to-School Parent Town Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 6 p.m.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1855 - Sanford & Cyrus Lyon establish Lyon's Station (for stagecoaches) near today's Sierra Hwy & Newhall Ave [story]
Sanford Lyon
Director Laurie Morgan is no stranger to the SCV artistic scene, having been active as a singer, actress, and director since the 1970s.
Romantic Comedy ‘Beau Jest’ Opens at Canyon Theatre Guild
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted 14 students as winners of the 49th Student Academy Awards competition.
Winners of 2022 Student Academy Awards Announced
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold its regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 27, beginning with a special meeting/closed session at 5:30 p.m., followed immediately by open session at 6 p.m.
Sept. 27: City Council Regular Meeting
College of the Canyons student-athletes Motoko Shimoji (women's golf) and Joshua Littleberry (football) have been named the COC Athletic Department's Women's & Men's Student-Athletes of the Week for the period running Sept. 12-17.
COC Names Shimoji, Littleberry Athletes of the Week
California State University, Northridge head men's and women's track and field and cross country coach Justin Johnson has announced the addition of Devin Elizondo to the Matadors' coaching staff.
Matadors Add Devin Elizondo, Joseph Blue to Track, Cross Country Programs
Valencia-based Lief Labs, a premier formulation and product development innovator and manufacturer of dietary supplements, is pleased to announce that Lief’s CEO & Founder, Adel Villalobos, was honored by the College of the Canyons Business Alliance among specially selected local Hispanic business owners, leaders, and entrepreneurs who have inspired others to pursue their dreams in the Santa Clarita Valley.
COC Business Alliance Honors Lief Labs CEO During Hispanic Heritage Month
Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley announces the 30-year celebration of the James T. Ventress Clubhouse in Newhall Park on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 8 a.m.
Oct. 12: Boys & Girls Club SCV Celebrating 30 Years
On Thursday, Sept. 29, Los Angeles County will officially launch the Veteran Suicide Review Team, a collaborative between the city of Los Angeles, County, federal and private agencies to reduce veteran suicide in L.A. County.
L.A. County Launches Veteran Suicide Review Team
SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will host a virtual Back-to-School Parent Town Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 6 p.m.
Parents Invited to Virtual Town Hall with State Schools Chief
A Centers for Disease Control report published on Monday, Sept. 19 used U.S. data from 2017-2019 to highlight striking inequality in maternal deaths.
L.A. County, CDC Report Similar, Critical Inequalities in Maternal Deaths
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Friday no new deaths and 34 new cases in the Santa Clarita Valley, with a total of 13 deaths and 1,641 new cases countywide.
Friday COVID Roundup: 34 New SCV Cases; No Additional Deaths
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health this week warned school leaders about a new and concerning “rainbow fentanyl” drug that may interest youth.
School Leaders Warned of New, ‘Rainbow Fentanyl’ Trend
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has appointed General (Ret.) Lester Lyles to serve as the Chair of the Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (DACODAI). Lyles is a seasoned organizational leader and US Air Force veteran, with over two decades of executive-level leadership to corporate and STEM-related national boards.
Defense Department Announces New Diversity, Inclusion Committee
1948 - Agua Dulce Women's Club organized [timeline]
Women's Club
Join in expressing your gratitude for our veterans and first responders at the free Veterans and First Responders Appreciation Day, sponsored by the Santa Clarita Elks Lodge 2379 and Los Angeles County Chapter, Marines and Corpsmen Association on Saturday, Oct. 8, from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Oct. 8: Santa Clarita Elks Lodge Hosting Veterans, First Responders Appreciation Day
The Lady Mustangs jumped out to a fast start winning the first two sets before taking care of the Arizona Christian Firestorm 3-1 on the road in Glendale, Ariz., Saturday to get their first conference win of the season.
Lady Mustangs Volleyball Earn First GSAC Win
Join realtor Tiffany Shields for her free home buyers seminar which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 1, from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m., at the Canyon Country Community Center.
Oct. 1: Free Home Buyers Seminar at Canyon Country Community Center
The Newhall Community Center will host a Marketplace Sunday, Oct. 23, from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., at 22421 Market Street in Newhall.
Oct. 23: Newhall Community Center Hosting Marketplace
The city of Santa Clarita is inviting the community to attend the Sidewalk Poetry Reading Dedication at The MAIN, located at 24266 Main Street in Old Town Newhall, on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 11 a.m.
Oct. 15: Sidewalk Poetry Dedication in Old Town Newhall
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday no new deaths and 41 new cases in the Santa Clarita Valley, with a total of 12 deaths and 1,666 new cases countywide.
Thursday COVID Roundup: 41 New SCV Cases; No Additional Deaths
1923 - Newhall Chamber of Commerce organizes community cleanup day [story]
cleanup day
The family comedy "Southern Fried Funeral" is opening this weekend at Canyon Theatre Guild.
Sept. 23: Canyon Theatre Guild Opens ‘Southern Fried Funeral’
SCVNews.com
%d bloggers like this: