10 Sep SEPTEMBER 2019 UPDATE
We are grateful for your patience and understanding as we continue litigating your claims against the Southern California Gas Company and Sempra Energy.
We wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with some important information regarding the Porter Ranch Gas Leak, which we think that everyone who was affected should be aware of. As you know, the Southern California Gas Company, the nation’s largest gas distribution utility, could not stop the toxic gasses from spewing out of the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility from October 23, 2015 to February 18, 2016. By volume, this blowout released 220 times more gas than oil released in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This resulted methane emissions in California to increase by 25 percent. As many of you know, the gas transported to Aliso Canyon had known cancer-causing chemicals, like benzene. SoCalGas knew this and made false statements to protect themselves from liability.
As you will see in SoCalGas’ update in 1996 provided below, it appears that 1996 is the last time SoCalGas gave the public actual notice of the benzene. The only reason why SoCalGas finally admitted of the gas leak on October 23, 2015, was because there was an uncontrollable flow of fluids and gas from gas injection well “Standard Sesnon 25” (API no. 03700776 known as SS-25.) In the month before this blowout, SoCalGas injected over 5.7 billion cubic feet of gas into the underground reservoir (called the Sesnon-Frew.) SoCalGas told regulators and the public that there were no public health concerns from the gas leak, and that the “gas leak does not pose an imminent threat to public safety.”
SoCalGas had a statutory obligation under Proposition 65 to warn people living and working near SoCalGas’ facilities, that the people were being exposed to significant levels of chemical known to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm.
Another vital information that was hidden by SoCalGas, as we later learned from firefighters on August 1, 2018, was that SoCalGas also knew the gas had formaldehyde, which is another cancer -causing chemical. We learned of this after SoCalGas admitted that it distributes natural gas with formaldehyde. Because of this, many firefighters who protected us during that time, are now battling with cancer, since they were directly involved in the main affected area. This is truly heartbreaking, because our firefighters had no warning by SoCalGas about the toxic chemical exposure, and they went to the affected areas without any personal protective gear. This begs the question of how many people who have cancer now is the result of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak. SoCalGas knew, and still knows that there have been a series of discharges from the Facility that include the discharge of methane, chemical odorants, oily residue, benzene, toluene, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, heavy metals such as barium, and other unknown chemicals and matter from SS-25, through dozens of other wells leaking during the blowout, and the discharge through slower leaks over the last few decades.
The physical injuries and impact to real property were corroborated by unpleasant and enduring odors, and acute respiratory (eye, nose and throat irritation) and central nervous system (headaches, dizziness) symptoms, many of which were reported to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (“DPH”.) Another chemical that was found in the gas leak was acrolein, which causes hypertension, tachycardia, asthmatic reactions, respiratory distress, skin irritation, and eye irritation.
In addition to the above listed cancer causing chemicals, SoCalGas also injects toxic waste water underground. This waste is from SoCalGas’ oil and gas operations, and is primarily injected into water flood wells. SoCalGas injects the waste water from Crimson and Terno. Water flood wells are also used to increase pressure underground and control the movement of oil or gas underground.
On November 18, 2015, the Division of Oil & Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR) issued an emergency order to SoCalGas to provide data about the blowout that was clearly out of control at that point. This was done after weeks of breathing oily mist, which first showed up around the head of SS-25. Even after the DOGGR’s emergency order, the failure of SoCalGas to adequately plan and prepare for a catastrophic well failure and blowout caused hazardous gases, chemicals, pollutants, and contaminants to be released over Porter Ranch, Granada Hills, Northridge, Chatsworth and neighboring communities until the well was shut on February 18, 2016. Another Important fact that became known during the course of the investigation, was that SoCalGas knew that all or some of the wells at the Aliso Canyon Facility suffered damage from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake due to the proximity of the well field to the earthquake’s epicenter, but SoCalGas deferred repairs to save money!
Department of Public Health (DPH) Settles with SoCalGas and Receives $25 million for Health Safety.
Many of you have called after this news, which was announced August of 2018, and wondered if your case has settled. We told you in the past that this is a different settlement (with the City of Los Angeles) and we want you to know that this settlement was entered with a conscious disregard to the rights under the California Constitution for all victims of the gas blowout. SoCalGas will be using nearly 1/3 of the settlement funds for its development, and government agencies get paid millions before a single victim of the blowout recovers their economic damages. We reiterate one more time that this is not related to your case against SoCalGas and none of the plaintiffs in your case have received any moneys out of this settlement with the City of Los Angeles.
As we previously informed you , trial date is set for June 24, 2020. In the meantime, we will contact you if we need anything else from you. Please be sure to update us with your new contact information, including current address, telephone number and email address.
Should you have any questions regarding this process, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office. We thank you for your understanding and we will keep you updated in the coming weeks.
|NOTICE: MOVING FORWARD, FOR FUTURE GENERAL UPDATES REGARDING THE PORTER RANCH GAS LEAK LITIGATION, PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT WWW.KBLAWYERS.COM|