Porter Ranch protesters demand complete closure of Aliso Canyon facility 2 years after leak

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Monday, October 23, 2017
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It has been two years since a noxious odor began seeping from the Aliso Canyon storage facility. Monday, hundreds of residents called on Gov. Jerry Brown to shut it down permanently.

PORTER RANCH, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Monday marks two years since the massive gas leak at the Aliso Canyon storage facility. Hundreds of residents gathered at the location to call on Gov. Jerry Brown to shut it down permanently.

Protesters held signs shaped like tombstones and dressed in hazmat gear as they demonstrated outside the Aliso Canyon storage facility, many chanting, "Shut it all down! Shut it all down!"

The protest remained relatively quiet, but at one point, a truck driver attempted to maneuver his vehicle through the crowd of demonstrators who were blocking the entrance to the facility. That truck driver was detained for questioning and will be investigated for possible assault with a deadly weapon.

"It's been two years later, but nothing has changed. It still leaks. People are still getting sick, pets are still dying," said Alexandra Navy with the organization, Food & Water Watch.

"They have done nothing," said Matt Pakucko, the lead organizer of the group Save Porter Ranch. Pakucko is referring to local politicians and the government agencies overseeing the facility, which earlier this year approved limited operations.

MORE: Porter Ranch residents claim new gas smell from storage field causing illness

"They swore up and down, they certified just a couple weeks ago, a few weeks ago, that facility is safe," Pakucko said. "Liars or incompetent, which one is it?"

Last week, a local doctor said he found high levels of chemicals in patients living near the gas facility.

This comes as Southern California Gas Company officials say Aliso Canyon does not present a safety risk because the facility "is being held to the most rigorous monitoring, inspection and safety requirements in the nation."

The rigorous monitoring includes visual inspections of each well four-times a day and daily infrared thermal imaging to detect leaks.

MORE: SoCalGas reaches $8.5M settlement with SCAQMD over Porter Ranch leak

"People are making sacrifices. This is a workday, it's a school day. People are here," said Craig Galanti, a Porter Ranch resident.

Many of the people who live in the area feel the investigation is not over.

"It's time for others to step up, because this could happen to you," Galanti said.

The governor told Eyewitness News that he has asked the Energy Commission to plan for the permanent closure of the Aliso Canyon storage facility.

In turn, the Energy Commission released a statement saying it could work with the California Public Utilities Commission and other agencies on a plan to phase out the use of the Aliso Canyon storage facility within 10 years.