Neighbors demand leaking SoCal Gas plant be closed

PORTER RANCH, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A stench caused by a gas leak in a valley neighborhood is so bad it's forcing families from their homes just before Thanksgiving.

Neighbors in Porter Ranch gathered on Monday to demand the closure of the Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon storage facility, which is leaking so much methane it's accounting for a quarter of all methane emission in California.

The leak has released the same amount of carbon dioxide as driving 160,000 cars for a year or consuming 90 million gallons of gas.

SoCal Gas was directed by Los Angeles County officials to offer temporary living for residents dealing with the strong odor.

That means some families, like the Moellers, may have to spend Thanksgiving in a hotel room.

"It's a huge inconvenience because we don't have our stuff," Jennifer Moeller said.

As concerns over the health impact grow, officials with the gas company and health department are telling residents the leak will not have permanent or long term health effects.

In a statement to ABC7, SoCal Gas quoted the county health department, "These exposures do not constitute an immediate danger to life, and permanent or long term health effects are not expected. Daily, short-term symptoms are expected to continue, as long as the odors remain."

Students in the area said children are not being allowed to play outside during school, and Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines said the district will conduct its own investigation.
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