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Notorious LA-area natural gas blowout case settles

Something as big as the mass spewing of gas in late 2015 from the Aliso Canyon underground storage facility near Porter Ranch in the San Fernando Valley was bound to spark litigation.

As well as a notable outcome.

That outcome was publicly revealed last week, with a lawsuit relating to what has been denoted as "the largest-known release of climate-changing methane [gas] in U.S. history" concluding with a settlement that requires payment of millions of dollars earmarked for environmental/health studies and remediation efforts.

Many readers of our Los Angeles business and commercial law blog at Larson & Gaston likely still retain vivid memories surrounding the events centrally linked with the unprecedented natural gas leak discovered in the northwestern area of the valley in October 2015. It took workers several months to cap a single well that was spewing methane.

By the time the leaking was controlled, approximately 8,000 families from the area had fled their homes and relocated. In the wake of the disaster, high numbers of people have reportedly suffered from a variety of medical ailments, including rashes, headaches and nausea.

Understandably, they are angered, with many of them remaining unhappy with developments that have ensued since the catastrophe. As one national media piece notes, homeowners "want the storage field (which contains more than 100 underground wells) closed permanently, and they have angrily offered that view at recent public meetings."

They will likely continue to complain in the settlement's wake, which calls for the Southern California Gas Company to pay $8.5 million to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The money is not earmarked for aggrieved property owners; rather, it will reportedly fund a health study, pay for emission fees related to the leak, provide resources applicable to a new project, and reimburse the district for monitoring costs.

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