Gas Company Wants to Rush Residents Back Into Massive Gas Leak Neighborhood

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When fumes from the nearby gas leak in Aliso Canyon began giving Porter Ranch residents nosebleeds and headaches (and exposed them to benzene), they abandoned their homes and sought shelter elsewhere. So for the past few months, SoCal Gas has been paying rent for 4,461 relocated households, often at inflated prices, and that’s in addition to the millions of dollars in natural gas that the company is losing into the atmosphere. The company is probably eager to move residents back home quickly, as it would relieve them of an astronomical expense.

But after months of living in hotel rooms and short-term housing, the displaced residents of Porter Ranch were none too pleased to find out they would have just two days to arrange a move back into their old homes. Luckily, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office had their back, saying 48 hours was not a reasonable timeframe, and negotiated a more favorable eight day window. City Attorney Mike Feuer says the six extra days will “help residents resume their daily routines on schedules that work best for them.”

The Department of Public Health isn’t so sure about the quick pace of the return either—they will be evaluating the air in Porter Ranch for 30 days after the plug to ensure it’s actually safe. One problem, though: if they find the air is still contaminated, those that already moved back in, well, they’re kinda out of luck. SoCal gas isn’t on the line for their expenses once they move back home. Nor is the gas company financially responsible for anyone who remains in temporary housing after the eight-day deadline expires.

Even the eight-day timeline for returning Porter Ranch residents seems rushed to many officials. LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich says the eight-day deadline “victimizes residents,” not allowing them the proper time to confirm the air in their neighborhoods is actually safe. He wants a 30-day relocation window that will more closely match up with Public Health’s monitoring of air quality. Antonovich says Porter Ranch residents “should have the confidence once the well is sealed, that the area has been appropriately tested and assessed before the Gas Company discontinues paying for relocation expenses.”

· Gas-Leak Refugees Get Some Relief [LA Business Journal]

· Nightmare Porter Ranch Gas Leak Might Finally Be Stopped Next Week [Curbed LA]

· Residents Fleeing Enormous Porter Ranch Methane Leak Getting Hit With Super-High Rents [Curbed LA]

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