PORTER RANCH (CBSLA.com) — Southern California Gas Co. will pay $8.5 million to settle a lawsuit with the South Coast Air Quality Management District over the massive gas leak from the utility’s Aliso Canyon storage facility.
Under the terms of the settlement signed Wednesday, $1 million will go toward an SCAQMD-sponsored health study, $5.65 million will pay for emission fees related to the leak, $1.6 million with reimburse the agency for air monitoring costs and $250,000 will go toward legal fees.
The health study will include an enhanced assessment of residents’ exposure to air pollution from the leak, a community health survey and an analysis of potential associations between reported health affects and exposure to air pollutants.
A renewable gas production project will also be funded with $1 million from the emission fees, which SCAQMD hopes will have the potential to reduce natural gas storage in underground facilities including Aliso Canyon.
The lawsuit in question was filed on Jan. 26, 2016, over the leak discovered on Oct. 23, 2015, in one of Aliso Canyon’s 115 underground wells. The well was not sealed until Feb. 18, 2016, causing the displacement of hundreds of families from the Porter Ranch area who became sickened by the gas spewing into the atmosphere above the community.