Porter Ranch Gas Leak Lawsuit
The Porter Ranch community in California’s San Fernando Valley is the site of a terrible natural gas leak that has sickened many people and forced more than 1,000 others to relocate. The law firm of Baron & Budd continues to investigate the situation and has already filed a class action lawsuit against Southern California Gas Co. and its parent company, Sempra Energy. If you have been affected by the gas leak and would like to learn more about your potential legal options, please complete our contact form or give us a call at 866-723-1890.
How Did the Porter Ranch Gas Leak Occur?
According to an article that appeared on the Los Angeles Daily News website, Southern California Gas Co. was attempting to inject nearly 6 billion cubic feet of natural gas underground near the company’s Aliso Canyon Facility in October 2015. However, a blowout occurred near one of the injection wells a few hundred feet below ground, leading to a massive well failure.
As a result, gas from the site has leaked into not only the water table, but into the air as well. Gas has been flowing into the ground and seeping up through it, causing a constant stench that has been compared to rotten eggs. People as far away as Granada Hills and Northridge have said they can smell the leak, and infrared images show a plume of hydrocarbons hovering over the Porter Ranch area.
Nearly two months later, the leak has still not been contained. There have been several attempts to try and plug the leak by pumping fluid into the area, but none of them have been successful. Now, the Gas Company is attempting to drill a relief well.
According to the Los Angeles County Public Health Department, most natural gas in California is composed of methane. However, on its own, natural gas is a colorless, odorless substance. A small amount of an odorant known as mercaptan, which can irritate the skin and eyes, is added in order to make a gas leak easier to detect. This accounts for the odors residents smell.
The president of the Gas Company addressed the Los Angeles City Council in early December 2015, apologizing for the leak as well as the company’s failure to communicate to area residents what was happening in a timely manner. Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced earlier in the month that he was suing the Gas Company due to the way the company had handled the incident.
The situation is so dire that the Federal Aviation Administration issued a ban on low-flying planes above the area of Porter Ranch where the leak occurred. According to the Los Angeles Times, planes will likely not be allowed to fly lower than 2,000 feet in the area until at least the end of March.
How Bad is it for the Environment?
Not only has the gas leak caused health issues and displaced residents, it is also posing a serious threat to the surrounding environment. According to an article that appeared on the website of KCET-TV, an estimated 50 metric tons of natural gas is leaking into the atmosphere each hour. Methane, the primary component of the natural gas that is seeping into the environment, is a greenhouse gas that is more potent than carbon dioxide.
So far, according to news sources, enough methane has spewed into the atmosphere to equal the greenhouse gas output of burning nearly 1 billion pounds of coal. By the time the leak is capped, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of metric tons of methane will have likely escaped into the air.
Filing a Porter Ranch Gas Leak Lawsuit
You may be able to take action against the parties responsible for the Porter Ranch gas leak. The toxic effects from the leak are just now being felt – and there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding the long-term health complications that may be experienced. And the potential effects on groundwater are far from being determined.
Members of the general public who have been adversely affected or impacted by the gas leak are likely entitled to compensation for any medical expenses associated with the leak, as well as for damages associated with relocation costs and for the diminution of the value of their properties. If you believe you have suffered financial losses due to the gas leak, you may have legal recourse.
How Baron & Budd Can Help
At Baron & Budd, we have a great deal of experience and a well-established track record of successfully defending the rights of our clients. If you believe you have been affected by the Porter Ranch gas leak, please complete our contact form or call 866-723-1890. We will listen to the details of your case and let you know if you are eligible to take legal action.