SoCalGas Pays $119.5 Million For Aliso Canyon Gas Leak Settlement

The County brought a claim against the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), alleging that, in 2015, SoCalGas caused the largest natural gas leak in U.S. history and forced thousands of Porter Ranch residents to evacuate their homes.  Working with the Los Angeles City Attorney, the County’s lawsuit sought to protect these residents.  The California Attorney General joined the litigation, and the County later expanded its lawsuit against SoCalGas seeking to force safety upgrades at their other underground gas storage facilities in the County.  The complaint alleged that most of the SoCalGas’ wells in gas fields throughout the County are converted old oil wells that date back more than 50 years and desperately need upgrading.  The County successfully pushed regulators to require additional review of safety and seismic risks to the Aliso Canyon facility.  The County fought all the way to the California Supreme Court in its efforts to require additional safety and environmental review.

The County, working in partnership with the Attorney General and LA City Attorney, reached a $119.5 million settlement with SoCalGas.  The settlement will fund a health impact study, air monitoring, electric school buses, air filtration systems at schools, new County operated electric powered mobile breathmobiles, lead paint abatement, and greenhouse gas mitigation. The litigation helped lead to safety upgrades at all SoCalGas underground storage facilities throughout the County, including replacing old equipment with state-of-the-art technology, monitoring, and daily inspections.

Using funds from the settlement, the County’s Department of Public Health is overseeing a health study being conducted by UCLA.  The health study will evaluate the long-term health impacts of the communities’ exposure to the natural gas leak.  The County’s Department of Health Services expects the delivery of two customized electric vehicles in 2023 for mobile asthma care.  The Southern California Air Quality Management District and a school district have received funds to implement other supplemental environmental projects.

 *Although SoCalGas settled this lawsuit, it did not admit liability; nor did it admit the allegations of the County’s complaint. 

Supervisor Barger at press conference to announce SoCalGas settlement
Photo from Supervisor Barger press release: