USA: Residents sue SoCalGas & Sempra for alleged negligence over methane gas leak

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Article
11 January 2016

USA: Methane leak at SoCalGas well will contribute to climate change

Author: Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian (UK)

"A single gas well leak is California's biggest contributor to climate change", 5 Jan 2016

…The broken well at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage site has released more than 77,000 metric tons of the powerful climate pollutant methane…Locals have complained of headaches, sore throats, nosebleeds and nausea, caused by the rotten-egg smell of the odorant added to the gas…by SoCalGas, the utility that operates the natural gas storage site. About 1,000 people are suing the company…Campaign groups said the release undercuts Barack Obama’s efforts to…live up to US commitments to a historic climate accord agreed in Paris last month...R Rex Parris, who is suing the gas company on behalf of Porter Ranch residents, said the site should have been shut down long ago. He faulted the company for removing a blow-out preventer at the bottom of the well in 1979. “They deliberately took the brakes off the car and continued to drive it…” A company spokeswoman said the well was in compliance with state regulations.

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Article
5 January 2016

Residents Sue Over ‘Negligent’ Practices By Gas Company, As Pipeline Leak Goes Into Third Month

Author: Samantha Page, Think Progress (USA)

For more than two months, methane has been escaping from a storage well in Los Angeles, causing the evacuation of thousands of homes…Now, residents are suing, alleging that Southern California Gas Company took out and never replaced a safety valve that could have shut off the leak, and generally failed to maintain the site.  The gas leaking from the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility has been treated with an odorant [which] has been reportedly causing headaches, nausea, nosebleeds, and other adverse reactions.  SoCalGas has temporarily relocated 2,300 households and is working with another 1,500 on relocations…The residents’ complaint alleges that the company identified leaks at the…site…five years ago — and the company even received a rate hike to pay for improvements, which it never implemented…The class action filing alleges that SoCalGas and its parent company “negligently failed to construct, operate, and maintain” the storage facility… “SoCalGas is committed to stopping the gas leak as quickly as possible,” [a spokesperson for the company] said. “To that end, we are creating a secondary relief well as backup to our ongoing drilling of the primary relief well.”... 

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Article
29 December 2015

First Amended Class Action Complaint

Author: R. Rex Parris Law Firm

…This case involves the massive leak that was discovered on or about October 23, 2015 next to the residential community of Porter Ranch…The 30,000 residents of Porter Ranch began experiencing toxic impacts from the air contamination shortly after the massive failure of the gas injection well.  These residents have now been exposed to an uninterrupted flow of gases, including methane, mercaptans, and aromatic hydrocarbons.  The residents of Porter Ranch suffer physical problems…As a result, in the midst of the holiday season, families in Porter Ranch face the choice of waking each morning breathing grossly polluted air, or being forced to relocate and miss school…So. Cal. Gas and its parent company, Defendant Sempra Energy (“Defendants”), negligently failed to construct, operate, and maintain the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility where they inject gas and other products into improperly permitted injection wells in the Aliso Canyon field.  Defendants’ failure to abate the fluid and gas leak is releasing hazardous gases, chemicals, pollutants, and contaminants into Plaintiffs’ land, homes, and/or their persons.  These leaks, releases, emissions, and/or migration of noxious odors, hazardous gases, chemicals, pollutants, and contaminants into Plaintiffs’ land, homes, and/or their persons constitute an invasion of Plaintiffs’ property…

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