DIAMOND BAR (CBSLA.com) — Air quality regulators Wednesday held a final hearing to decide the fate of a Southern California Gas Company storage facility that has been leaking natural gas in Porter Ranch.
Currently, there are more than 40,000 petition signatures calling for the closure of the gas company’s Aliso Canyon storage facility.
Early this morning, dozens of San Fernando Valley and Porter Ranch-area residents boarded a bus at the Northridge Metro Station and traveled to Diamond Bar where they protested outside of South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) headquarters.
Turnout for the meeting was not as large as expected as some residents complained air quality regulators refused to move the hearing closer to Porter Ranch.
According to demonstrators, an agreement made between SoCal Gas Co. and SCAQMD falls short of what is needed to protect the public and the climate from ongoing disaster and future accidents.
Air quality regulators allege that the gas company is creating a public nuisance by discharging odor emissions that are in violation of health codes in nearby communities.
A third meeting was held at 9 a.m. to discuss SCAQMD’s proposal regarding the fate of the storage facility.
According to SCAQMD, the order seeks to stop the leak and capture all leaking gas as quickly as possible, utilize all gas from the reservoir until all leaks are stopped, inspect and maintain all wells within a two year time frame and monitor all emissions from the well and reservoir.
The mandate also calls for authorities to retain an independent third party to conduct a health study and to mitigate greenhouse gas impacts of the leak by funding projects that would restore value to the community.
On Oct. 23, 2015, natural gas was found leaking at the storage facility. Protesters claim the leak was caused by integrity failure due to aging infrastructure.
For the past three months, the natural gas leak has affected thousands of residents and pets in the Porter Ranch area.
More than 2,500 households have had to relocate and an additional 1,800 others are waiting for assistance.
Students who normally attend two LAUSD campuses have been temporarily relocated to other district schools.
KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reported Wednesday that Los Angeles County Health Department officials said data shows no long-term health risk to the public.
Health officials have received “hundreds of calls” from irritated residents in response to the ongoing leak, Mertz added.
On Monday, SoCal Gas Co. announced crews should be able to stop the leak by late February, if not sooner.