AQMD Settlement with SoCal Gas Shortchanges Porter Ranch, says Sherman
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Brad Sherman, who lives about as close as anyone to the Porter Ranch gas leak site, issued the following statement following the announcement of the Aliso Canyon gas leak settlement:
“Today the Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD) announced a settlement under which SoCal Gas will pay $8.5 million to cover costs associated with the massive blow out at their Aliso Canyon facility last year, resulting in the largest methane leak in US history.
“The settlement calls for SoCal Gas to pay $8.5 million, but only one million of that sum will be spent on the health study to determine the full extent of injuries caused by the leak.
“An appropriate study of the injuries caused, and particularly the long-term effects caused by the methane leak cannot be completed for one million dollars. One million dollars is enough for a whitewash that declares that everyone is fine and no one should bother SoCal Gas again.
“After SoCal Gas covers the costs of current air quality monitoring and AQMD’s legal fees, the remaining approximately $6.65 million should be entirely dedicated to fund a truly thorough health study. If the initial health study can be completed for less and does not show a need for a follow-up study, only then should the remaining funds be used for other purposes.
“Those affected by the largest natural gas leak in U.S. history deserve answers about the leak’s long-term health impacts, and a fully-funded health study remains the best hope for obtaining such answers.
“The settlement from the massive gas leak should help the victims first. Only when we are sure that we have studied, and done follow-up studies to help the victims in the North Valley, should AQMD consider using funds elsewhere.
“I am disappointed that it has taken SoCalGas more than a year since the January 26, 2016, AQMD Order of Abatement only to reach a settlement that now under- funds the health study. In the meantime, the residents of Porter Ranch have continued to suffer from unexplained nosebleeds, headaches and other symptoms.”
 On February 6, 2017, the Los Angeles Daily News reported anecdotal information from Porter Ranch physician Dr. Jeffrey Nordella, who “said he’s seeing abnormal pulmonary functions among some of [the almost 50 patients he’s followed since last year’s Aliso Canyon natural gas leak] and low red blood cell counts in others.