SoCalGas Downplays Severity of Gas Well Blowout

porter ranch smoke

SoCalGas attempted to minimize the environmental effect of its Aliso Canyon gas well blowout today. In an interview with the BBC, Regional Public Affairs Manager Mike Mizrahi, speaking on behalf of SoCalGas, said that he would not classify the leak as an environmental catastrophe.

This statement comes mere days after Gov. Jerry Brown declared Porter Ranch a State of Emergency and vowed to extend financial resources to assist residents with immediate relocation from the affected area.

SoCalGas has created a website at for Porter Ranch residents to download reimbursement packages for personal injury, business loss, and health claims against what they term as the “Aliso Canyon Storage Incident.”

However, SoCalGas says in the BBC interview that gases that are still being released into the atmosphere are not a public safety threat.

The official choice of words the company is currently using in the media may be yet another way to deflect responsibility. At present, SoCalGas is spearheading relocation efforts of over 2,000 Porter Ranch residents as directed by a court order. The company is also shelling out home air purifiers to residents who have yet to relocate, erecting screens to quell the spread of atmospheric natural gas mist, and providing a per diem meal allowance of $45 per person to those who are staying in hotels without kitchen facilities.

These are extensive measures to take for a non-catastrophic event. The “Worst Gas Leak in U.S. History” according to Time magazine was also declared a no-fly zone on the day of the blowout. In addition to the headaches, nosebleeds, and nausea that residents have reported as a result of natural gas and mercaptan exposure, state agencies assigned to provide oversight of the cleanup have corroborated the claim that the leak is a detriment to the environment on a massive scale.

The breech in SoCalGas’s well continues to spew gas into the environment at record rates without a definitive end in sight.