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Consumer advocate Erin Brockovich, together with law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, will host a town hall meeting on Wednesday for residents of Porter Ranch who have been affected by the gas leak at Southern California Gas Co.’s Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Facility. At the meeting, Brockovich and W&L will update residents on the current status of the leak and how they plan to proceed with lawsuits they have filed against Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and Sempra Energy.
Brockovich has described the leak as the country’s worst environmental disaster since the BP oil spill in 2010.
”Every hour this leak is spewing 50,000 kilograms of gas equal to the strength of a volcanic eruption. This concoction of poisonous fumes has invaded homes, been inhaled by children and the elderly, and has led to the displacement of thousands of families. This gas leak is an ongoing assault on this community and the companies at the center of this disaster need to take swifter, bolder action to support Porter Ranch residents,” said Brockovich.
Robin Greenwald, head of W&L’s Environmental, Toxic Tort & Consumer Protection litigation unit added, ”Our lawsuit is designed to force these negligent companies into securing the future safety of the storage facility and providing residents with transparent and real-time information about air emissions from the facility. We are also seeking full compensation for the many aspects of losses residents have experienced from the gas leak. We encourage everyone who has been affected by the leak to come to the meeting to learn more about the leak and how we plan to hold SoCalGas and Sempra accountable for their actions.”
SoCalGas and Sempra announced there was a leak at its Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Facility in October. On December 16, 2015 W&L filed a complaint in the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles alleging that SoCalGas and Sempra were grossly negligent both in the construction of the Aliso Canyon facility and in their ongoing attempts to repair the leak. The firm has since filed a second complaint representing 25 more local families on December 31.
The law firm is calling for the establishment of a compensation fund for the plaintiffs to pay for expenses incurred as a result of the gas leak and is demanding the immediate relocation of residents affected by the leak, many of whom have been waiting for over a month to be provided temporary housing to escape the toxic fumes. W&L is also asking for SoCalGas and Sempra to develop and implement a real-time community warning system to provide residents with critical information about air quality, and is seeking to have the Aliso Canyon Turbine Replacement Project suspended immediately until the leak has been stopped and its cause has been determined.
Brockovich and W&L hosted a similar town hall meeting in early December 2015 to hear the concerns of local residents.
Date: Wednesday, January 6 from 6:30 to 9:00 pm.
Location: West Hills Presbyterian Church, 23350 Welby Way, West Hills, California.
A Korean interpreter will translate the meeting and answer any questions residents may have.
If you are a member of the media that would like to attend the meeting, please RSVP to Jane Hardey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 347-583-2488.