Government claims against SoCalGas settled in Aliso Canyon gas leak dispute

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A settlement has been reached between government agencies and Southern California Gas Co. over the biggest methane leak in U.S. history.

It resolves claims stemming from the massive Southern California Gas Co. leak at the Aliso Canyon storage facility that forced thousands of people from their homes in Porter Ranch.

But some residents, like Matt Pakucko, are fuming after a judge signed off on a $119.5 million consent decree reached between SoCalGas, city and county officials.

"We expected the rubber stamp because we were already sold out by the city, county and the state," said Pakucko.

The agreement resolves governmental civil claims from the natural gas leak at Aliso Canyon in 2015.

The deal, however, does not resolve the multiple outstanding claims filed by individuals who say they were personally affected by the leak.

Part of the money is going toward reimbursing the city, county and state for costs responding to the leak.

Pakucko argues it doesn't go far enough addressing the needs of residents affected by the leak.

"It doesn't give much to actual blowout victims. We hardly get anything, we get a $25 million health study," said Pakucko.

The agreement includes mitigation obligations to reduce tons of methane emissions over the next decade.

Part of that plan includes putting more than a fifth of the settlement toward capturing climate-changing methane from dairy farms in the Central Valley, which is more than 100 miles from the Aliso Canyon facility.

"SoCalGas gets to spend the money on their own infrastructure," Pakucko said. "Way far, nothing to do with the Central Valley, the victims of the blowout."

SoCal Gas officials say they are pleased to finalize the settlement which was announced in August 2018.
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