By Michael D. Antonovich Los Angeles County Supervisor.
In a weekend negotiation, the Southern California Gas Company and the City of Los Angeles agreed to a 7-night, 8-day timeframe by when residents displaced by the Porter Ranch gas leak must return to their residence otherwise reimbursement for relocation expenses will stop.
This deal victimizes the victims once again and violates the spirit of the Public Health officer’s 30-day return recommendation. Residents and school officials should have the confidence once the well is sealed, that the area has been appropriately tested and assessed before the Gas Company discontinues paying for relocation expenses. These residents have been forced out of their homes and their children forced out of their schools. A 30-day return policy would be in the best interest of residents, students, and schools.
The County Department of Public Health has determined that once the once the well is sealed and the emissions cease, the time needed for a comprehensive evaluation of the air monitoring results is 30 days. I introduced a motion to send a letter signed by all L.A. County Supervisors to the Gas Company and the L.A. City Attorney urging them to work with County Department of Public Health and the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) to reconsider their unreasonable deadlines.
Since it began on Oct. 23, the gas leak has severely disrupted the lives of thousands of families over the Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. They have had to find alternate housing for themselves and their pets. Over 2,200 air quality complaints and reports of illness have been filed, two schools have been closed, multiple lawsuits filed — and there have been 7,250 requests made for relocation; nearly 5000 residents relocated; and over 3,000 air purifiers installed.