The California gas leak is not just a problem in terms of its odor. It is literally making people sick. Local residents have reported headaches, nausea, nosebleeds, and dizziness as a result of the methane leak. Recently, as the Daily Beast reports below, a criminal complaint says the massive Southern California methane leak is causing serious health problems. Leaks from natural gas operations not only emit methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas, but also release volatile organic compounds that contribute to smog or ground-level ozone, and air toxics such as benzene. In fact, according to the EPA, methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States from human activities. Health practitioners now have more reason than ever to be concerned with natural gas production and work toward replacing it with clean, healthy energy.
By Samantha Allen I February 4, 2016
Natural gas has been leaking from Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon storage facility since last October, closing schools and forcing thousands of Porter Ranch residents to relocate. Now, Los Angeles County prosecutors say the company took too long to notify the proper authorities.
A criminal complaint filed Tuesday by LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey alleges that SoCalGas not only illegally discharged air contaminants but also failed to immediately report the release of this hazardous material to some agencies, in violation of health and safety laws.
The complaint alleges that, between October 23rd and 26th of 2015, SoCalGas “failed, upon discovery, to immediately report a release or threatened release of hazardous material…to the California Emergency Management Agency and to the unified program agency.” It also charges the company with failing to notify the health hazardous materials division of the forester and fire warden.
In total, the utility faces four misdemeanor charges—the first criminal charges to emerge out of this months-long environmental crisis, which has been declared a state of emergency by California Governor Jerry Brown and drawn the attention of environmental activist Erin Brockovich.
Stay connected and get updates from Climate for Health.Subscribe