An estimated 4,000 residences are still relocated from the Porter Ranch and greater San Fernando Valley area after the October 23rd gas blowout from the SoCalGas Aliso Canyon gas storage facility. Those relocated are waiting for results from testing to understand what toxins are left in and around their homes from the oily mist and gas that was a constant during the blowout.
Days ago, SoCalGas decided they wanted to save money on relocation costs and ordered people to choose from one of three housing relocation options, which many found all the options unsatisfactory.
The only alternative they had was to unwillingly return home as their hotel reservations were canceled as of April 22. At the same time, as an estimated 50 percent of the people were reluctantly returning home, SoCalGas released a new bulletin that house cleaning would be done; however there is over a week delay before this will start.
That means people will be inside their homes (which many believe are contaminated) for a week or more before this program starts. Also the home owner is not privy as to the level of quality, type, depth, nor whether this type of cleaning will remove the type of toxins because the test results have not as of yet been released.
SoCalGas has finally acknowledged there is a still a problem in Porter Ranch. Again, a for-profit company is dictating the wellbeing of our community by forcing us home and providing clean up efforts with no oversight. Our community needs a real decontamination plan and SoCalGas needs to pay for it.
The residents and scientific community should have a voice in the decontamination process. Every residence in our impacted community should qualify for home testing and undergo the maximum decontamination process, not just those that are still relocated like SoCalGas dictates.
Our agencies are failing us again by letting SoCalGas take the lead and determine quality of life issues for our community. We need public process and accountability from the Public Health Department and other agencies to ensure that all of our homes are restored to a safe and livable condition.
This is just a clever attempt for SoCalGas to “clean up” its image while destroying the evidence of what contaminants are present in our homes. Each house has a different level of contaminates and we can better understand the long-term health impacts when we have a full analysis of toxins in each home.
We don’t understand the impacts of the toxins in our homes now and we won’t know the real clean up protocol until we do.
Save Porter Ranch champions a safe, clean and healthy environment for our communities though community empowerment and engagement.
Matt Pakucko is the president and co-founder of Save Porter Ranch.