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The Real Deal Los Angeles

LA County sues SoCal Gas Co. in attempt to stop Aliso Canyon from reopening

July 24, 2017 02:30PM

Community hearing during Porter Ranch gas leak (Getty Images)

The Southern California Gas Co. received a thumbs up from state regulators last week to reopen its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, the site of the largest gas leak in U.S. history.

But shortly after, attorneys representing Los Angeles County filed a lawsuit against state regulators and SoCal Gas in an attempt to keep the site closed. The lawsuit alleges SoCal Gas failed to conduct required safety and environmental studies and did not turn over public documents analyzing what caused the leak.

The county first sued the California Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil and Geothermal Resources, the California Public Utilities Commission and SoCal Gas in March, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

However, its attorneys filed an amended lawsuit on Friday with an additional request to immediately stop the reopening of the natural gas facility.

The complaint alleges SoCal Gas’ former head of storage said the wells were subject to earthquake instability and recommended safety valves be installed, according to the L.A. Times.

“The reopening of the facility is highly troubling and irresponsible,” the complaint states. “This is a regulator rushing to approve reopening without completing necessary investigations and risking public health.”

From October 2015 to February 2016, the leak at the underground gas storage facility in Porter Ranch caused thousands of residents to relocate and sparked outrage over its impact on public health.

State regulators said the decision to reopen Aliso Canyon came after months of rigorous inspection and analysis. 

A hearing is expected to be held July 28. [LAT]Subrina Hudson