Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
natural gas field

Porter Ranch Southern California Methane Leak Is Largest In US History

As reported by the AP and other news outlets, the natural gas and methane leak that sickened Los Angeles residents and forced thousands from their homes in the Porter Ranch area has been confirmed by scientists as the largest known release of climate-changing methane in U.S. history in terms of environmental impact.

Source of the disaster that has been described by at least one Los Angeles city official as “the equivalent of the BP oil spill, except on land,” since late October 2015 natural gas has been spewing into the air in the Aliso Canyon/Porter Ranch neighborhood about 25 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The gaseous emissions have been sickening residents and have forced thousands to evacuate their homes. The uncapped well is also pouring greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Property values have been diminished by the ongoing leak as well as the threat of future leaks from the same facility.

The study came out the same day some displaced residents staying in short-term housing were due to return home, but a judge issued an order requiring the gas company to provide housing for an additional three weeks. The leak, which was first reported on October 23, 2015 at the Aliso Canyon storage facility near Porter Ranch, has already released the greenhouse gas equivalent of 572,000 cars in a year, according to the report. “In terms of climate impact, this is the largest [in U.S. history],” said Stephen Conley, an atmospheric scientist at University of California, Davis, who co-authored the article.

Faced with growing public anger and no short-term fix for the leak, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency on January 6, 2016. Porter Ranch is a community of about 30,000 residents at the edge of the San Fernando Valley. 2,800 households have been relocated, and Southern California Gas executives are trying to find temporary homes for another 1,700.

National Environmental Safety and Toxic Injury Attorneys

Lieff Cabraser is a national plaintiffs firm with the experience, expertise, and financial resources to thoroughly investigate environmental cases and hold defendants accountable. We have successfully prosecuted cases against many of the world’s most powerful corporations, obtaining compensation for families and property owners harmed by oil spills, gas leaks, and other toxic environmental exposures.

If you or a family member have been injured as a result of the months-long natural gas leak in Porter Ranch, please contact us to discuss your case. There is no cost or obligation for our review, and any information you provide will be held strictly confidential.