Residents Call for Declaring a State of Emergency

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As the SoCalGas crisis escalates, residents of Porter Ranch, CA, a town located near the blowout, are calling for Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency. On Dec. 19, Christine Katz started a change.org petition demanding that the governor make this declaration so that residents can gain compensation and provisions to help them combat the detrimental effects of the gas well blowout.

On Oct. 23rd, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) discovered a gas well blowout in its Aliso Canyon facility. The facility has leaked more than 67,000 metric tons of methane gas into the atmosphere so far. Thousands of Porter Ranch residents have suffered from health problems such as nausea, nosebleeds and dizziness.

Reports are comparing the gas well blowout to the BP Gulf oil spill in terms of catastrophic damage. According to the California Air Resources Board, the blowout is leaking 50,000 kg of gas per hour – which is equivalent to the gas released in a volcanic eruption. According to MSNBC, NASA is planning to release a monitoring drone above Aliso Canyon to record further information about the gas well blowout.

Now, residents are accusing the governor of “serving his corporate donors” instead of the people he presides over. They say that his negligence to support the community comes from the fact that his sister is a member of the SoCalGas board.

The petition needs a total of 100 supporters in order to be sent to Governor Brown. It currently has 88 supporters. If the petition is successful, and Brown makes the declaration, residents will be able to get provisions for out-of-pocket health costs and moving companies. The declaration may also provide refunds for costs incurred by affected residents as a result of the blowout.

In terms of the residential properties in Porter Ranch, the declaration may allow temporary deferment of rent or mortgage payments. It may also provide incentives for landlords to enter into short-term leases with residents and create reasonably priced housing in neighboring areas so that residents have good options for relocation.

You can find the petition and sign it here.