SoCal Gas backs off 48-hour relocating plan in Porter Ranch

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The Southern California Gas Company said it is addressing its original relocation plan from 48 hours to a different time frame.

The months-long gas leak in Porter Ranch forced thousands of residents to relocate, but a controversial plan that would only give them 48 hours to return home once the leak was contained has been scrapped.

The leak at the Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon facility was first reported in October 2015, and has since become the largest gas leak in U.S. history.

MORE: Images shed new light on scope of Porter Ranch gas leak

The foul odor and concerns of health impacts displaced thousands, and forced nearby schools to relocate students.

SoCal Gas agreed to provide housing for those displaced, but originally stated it would give residents 48 hours to move back into their homes once the leak was sealed.

"You can't move everybody out and then move everybody back," relocated resident Hedy Linder said. "You are dealing with children, schools and residents changing their entire lives."

The company has since backed off those plans.

"We're in discussions with the governor's office as well as the city and others about, you know, changing the original relocation plan from 48 hours to some other time frame," Mike Mizrahi with SoCal Gas stated.

Some said they are concerned about how SoCal Gas plans to alert them in a timely manner once the decision is made for them to return home.

"Well how do we know? I mean do we wake up one morning and it's on TV? I mean we don't know. Do they email us? Do they call us? They have to be a little more communicative," relocated resident Max Izenberg said.

Many have also expressed concerns about those with disabilities and the elderly. SoCal Gas stated it understands the move could be more difficult for others, so they will look at residents by a case-by-case basis.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander said in addition to changing the 48 hour window, the gas company needs to come clean about when they really expect to cap the leak, which has created the largest environmental disaster in the U.S. since the BP oil spill of 2010.

"Here's what the gas company is telling us, off the record, they're saying that their target date from the auxiliary well to actually hit the target is on or around Feb. 8. Except for publicly they're telling everybody their target date is the end of February," Englander said.

MORE: SoCal Gas says Porter Ranch gas leak could be fixed by late February

"They've padded three weeks in there, and the reason I think they've done that is deliberate in case it doesn't work or they can come back and claim some good public relations that they were ahead of schedule," Englander continued. "In fact, they're three months behind schedule, they should have shut this down immediately."
Related Topics:
newsporter ranch gas leakgas leakgas fumesenvironmentPorter RanchLos AngelesLos Angeles County
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