Displaced Porter Ranch residents Christine and Brian Katz marked the two-month anniversary of the gas storage well failure at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field, owned by SoCalGas and Sempra Energy, by calling on the Governor to visit the site. They also call on the Governor to declare a state of emergency.
They have started an online petition demanding that the governor make this declaration so that residents can gain compensation and provisions to help them combat the detrimental effects of the gas well blowout.
The Katz family has been forced out of their home during the holidays. Los Angeles County officials had ordered SoCalGas to provide housing for families suffering from exposure to the gas, but SoCalGas offered the Katz a hotel room with inferior accommodations for her family of seven, and told the family their pets would have to go to a kennel to escape the adverse health risks created by this continuing environmental nightmare.
“The unprecedented blowout has unleashed an uninterrupted flow of gases. The noxious gases include methane, methyl mercaptan, and aromatic hydrocarbons which have sickened thousands of families in Porter Ranch,” said environmentalist lawyer and activist Robert Kennedy Jr., who has joined attorneys Brian Panish and R. Rex Parris in a lawsuit on behalf of the Katz family.
“SoCalGas’s blowout has also sent natural gas mixed with various other chemicals including benzene, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, into the air throughout the Porter Ranch community. Over 4,000 residents have requested temporary relocation due to the well blowout.”
Among other things, a declaration of an emergency may allow local residents to seek emergency relief on mortgage payments and allow local authorities to obtain additional resources to help the over 3,500 families fleeing the disaster area as a result of this public health emergency. Declaring a state of emergency provides local governments with the powers necessary to coordinate and implement plans aimed at protecting people and property during a disaster.
“As of the two-month mark, there is no end in sight, and Porter Ranch families continue to breathe toxic gases,” Christine said.
“It is outrageous that SoCalGas has been unable to fix the problem and unable to provide comparable housing as thousands of families evacuate from their homes during the holidays. I am also shocked that Gov. Jerry Brown has not visited the disaster site or declared a State of Emergency to bring immediate financial relief from the ongoing environmental disaster. If it’s safe to live here, why doesn’t Brown take up residence in Porter Ranch? I truly hope that the Governor’s inaction is not due to his sister Kathleen Brown being on the Board of Sempra which owns SoCalGas.”
Parris said that SoCalGas “has failed miserably to relocate families, address medical needs, or compensate them for their financial losses as a result of SoCalGas’ negligence. We have entire families experiencing severe health issues as a result of the leak.
“We have evidence that shows that the toxic gases are harmful to people, contrary to what SoCalGas claims. The problem cannot be solved by local government alone. We need the entire state of California, including the state and federal agencies and the governor’s office to assist and support local officials who are on the forefront in dealing with this crisis.”
“It is not only the methane that is the problem, other dangerous chemicals are being pumped into the atmosphere raising the risk of long-term, extremely serious health consequences for the people of Porter Ranch,” added Panish.
For more information, and to view the gas being emitted by the well failure, visit www.porterranchlawsuit.com.