Three years after a massive methane gas leak forced thousands of Porter Ranch residents in Southern California from their homes, Southern California Gas Company has agreed to a nearly $120 million settlement.
Under a deal announced Wednesday, the company will refrain from shifting the cost of the settlement onto ratepayers. It will also monitor methane at the Aliso Canyon facility fence line and post that data online.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said L.A. city, county and the state moved swiftly to reach the settlement for a reason. "If I were a resident, I'd want the health study to start right now. I'd want to know what's happening at the fence line right now, in real time,” he said. “So, we didn't sacrifice quality for speed, but nonetheless speed was important given these goals."
Under the agreement, SoCal Gas will reimburse local, county and state governments for costs associated with the blowout.
The settlement does not cover lawsuits filed by people who say they got sick or were forced from their homes. The leak lasted nearly four months and prompted health complaints. It was the largest single release of methane in U.S. history.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra said under the deal the utility will establish a program with the state Air Resources Board to mitigate methane emissions from the leak.
"What we'll be able to do is, through this settlement, make up for the release of 109,000 metric tons of methane gas as efficiently and quickly as possible," he said.
Other lawsuits are still pending over health claims, damages and liability.