SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA.com) — Porter Ranch residents Tuesday denounced a $4 million settlement over the massive gas leak at the Aliso Canyon storage facility.
A Santa Clarita judge approved the settlement which requires the Southern California Gas Company to install and maintain an infrared methane monitoring system at the site and hire workers to monitor it 24 hours a day.
The agreement also calls for revising and adopting new notification policies in the event of new incidents.
But the settlement does not include provisions giving residents a chance to seek restitution.
“They’re [Los Angeles County prosecutors] supposed to represent us, the people. They’re not! They raped us as far as I’m concerned,” said homeowner Maureen Capra.
The settlement ended the criminal case against SoCalGas, which pleaded no contest on Sept. 13 to a misdemeanor count of failing to immediately report the gas leak to the state Office of Emergency Services and the local Certified Unified Program Agency.
Three other misdemeanor counts filed against the company were dismissed at the sentence hearing.
“The do what the government does. They pass it back and forth to each other. But these are very real people. They were horribly treated, and they continue to horribly treat them,” the plaintiffs’ attorney R. Rex Perris said.
He vowed to appeal the settlement and pursue restitution in civil court.
Thousand of residents, including Danielle Rabadi, fled their homes and had to relocate for months during the gas leak.
She said the health problems she suffered cannot be undone and the reimbursements were not even close to enough.
“My whole life is turned upside down. They paid the landlords. They didn’t pay us. We didn’t get checks,” Rabadi said. “I think my mileage was $1.50. Are you kidding me?”
SoCalGas said it has already spent $700 million in compensation on the gas leak.
The company released a statement that said: “We are glad to have this resolved. SoCalGas remains committed to working with our regulators and to complying with laws and regulations applicable to the Aliso Canyon facility.”
The issue is far from resolved. More than 7,000 plaintiffs are still pursuing civil cases against the utility company.
The gas leak – which began Oct. 23, 2015, and ended in mid-February – spewed more than 100,000 tons of methane into the air, making it the largest methane leak in U.S. history.