SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KABC) --Attorneys for Southern California Gas entered not guilty pleas Wednesday to charges that the company mishandled the Porter Ranch gas leak that has forced thousands of San Fernando Valley residents from their homes.
The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office has charged the company with multiple counts of failing to report the leak immediately to state authorities and one count of discharging air contaminants.
A spokesman for SoCal Gas told reporters outside the Santa Clarita courtroom that the utility does not feel it broke any laws.
"We believe that we have operated the Aliso Canyon storage facility in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations," utility spokesman Mike Mizrahi said. "Further, when we discovered the leak, we made prompt notifications to multiple agencies."
The misdemeanor case is coming just days after the utility declared it has temporarily capped the gas leak which was first observed in October. State officials must confirm the leak is sealed before residents can return home.