USA: Sempra Energy accused of delay in reporting gas leak that drove thousands from their homes - company responds

Natural gas well leaking at SoCalGas Aliso Canyon facility, California, USA - credit: Scott L via CC BY-SA 2.0A methane leak was detected at a natural gas well and storage facility in northern Los Angeles County, California, owned by SoCalGas (part of Sempra Energy) in October 2015, requiring the evacuation of thousands of nearby residents from their homes for several months over health concerns.  Residents and local and state officials maintain that the company delayed responding to and reporting the leak, leading to criminal charges.  This incident and another in Mexico led the indigenous rights organization First Peoples Worldwide to issue a "Risk Alert" concerning Sempra.

We invited the company to respond.  Articles with full information and the company's response are below.

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Company response
9 May 2016

Sempra Energy response

Author: Sempra Energy

On October 23, 2015, SoCalGas detected a leak at one of the wells at its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, located in the northern part of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County. SoCalGas took immediate action to secure the area and implement safety precautions. Officials alerted on October 23 included the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Health Hazardous Materials Division, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health [and other state & local agencies and schools]... Background and Media Resource materials can be found here:
https://www.socalgas.com/documents/news-room/background-resource-materia...

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Article
21 March 2016

Levi & Korsinsky, LLP Reminds Shareholders of Sempra Energy of Commencement of Class Action Lawsuit and a Lead Plaintiff Deadline of May 2, 2016

Author: Levi & Korsinsky law firm (USA)

A securities class action has been commenced...[alleging] that...[Sempra Energy] issued materially false and misleading statements to investors and/or failed to disclose that: (1) Sempra’s subsidiary SoCalGas lacked the capability to expeditiously repair gas leaks, causing a public hazard; (2) an extended hazardous gas leak would constitute a serious threat to public health and safety... When the true details entered the market, the lawsuit claims that investors suffered damages.

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Article
2 February 2016

Sempra Utility Charged With Reporting California Leak Late

Author: Edvard Pettersson & Mark Chediak, Bloomberg (USA)

Sempra Energy’s Southern California Gas Co. utility was charged on Tuesday with failing to immediately report a natural gas well leak north of Los Angeles that has driven thousands of residents from their homes and prompted Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency... Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said...“We believe we can best serve our community using the sanctions available through a criminal conviction to prevent similar public health threats in the future.”... SoCalGas spokeswoman Kristine Lloyd said...“We will defend ourselves vigorously through the judicial process”...

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