Southern California Gas Co. executives say they are doing what they can to ameliorate the effects of the gas leak near Porter Ranch that has been ongoing since late October and appears likely to continue for several months.
“To further reduce residents' exposure to the odor, we are lining up suppliers and contractors to provide for in-home air filtration and weather stripping,” SoCalGas spokeswoman Melissa Bailey said Tuesday.
The utility company also plans to open a community resource center in a storefront at the Porter Ranch Town Center soon and launch a website next week in addition to an already established 24-hour hotline, according to Bailey. A claims process has been put in place for those who may have been injured as well.
The gas company’s president, Dennis Arriola, apologized last week for the leak, saying “We fell short of your expectations and, quite frankly, ours as well.”
City officials say the leak has threatened the health of those who live in the area as well as caused environmental concerns. It has temporarily displaced more than 200 residents. Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a lawsuit Monday against SoCalGas over the leak.
Feuer said the city will seek civil penalties as part of the lawsuit which alleges that the leak is a public nuisance and a violation of the California Unfair Competition Law. Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander said the company has “violated the public trust.”
“It is clear that the Southern California Gas Co. has been negligent in their responsibility to protect public health and safety with their operations and has caused real harm to their host community,” Englander said in a statement.
While Bailey warned it is too soon to try to accurately measure the exact amount of natural gas that is leaking, despite media reports, she said it could take up to four months to stop the leak.
In the meantime, community meetings are scheduled to take place tonight in Granada Hills and tomorrow in Porter Ranch to allow residents the opportunity to express their concerns.