SoCalGas to End Relocation Assistance Program 48 Hours After Well is Sealed

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Photo: "San Fernando Valley vista" by Oakshade at English Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

SoCalGas has announced they’ve begun the fifth and final phase to fix the gas well blowout at the Aliso Canyon Underground Storage Facility and expect to have the project completed by the end of February. Once the failed well is plugged, the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) will come and review the well to determine if it was sealed properly.

A mere 48 hours after regulators ensure the well is sealed, SoCalGas plans to end the relocation assistance program that has been utilized by thousands of residents affected by the noxious gases. A spokeswoman for gas the company said they will consider exceptions “on a case-by-case basis.” This timeframe has, understandably, angered Porter Ranch residents who are not convinced it will be safe to return to the homes they were forced to vacate as a result of the gas well blowout.

More than 4,400 households have relocated so far, and another 1,200 are still in the process of doing so. SoCalGas’s cutoff for relocation assistance does not take into account the time it takes to hire a moving company, or the fact that some people have signed leases. More importantly, many are voicing their unease about having to move back without confirmation that there will be no long-term health consequences from the well failure.

The Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council met with government representatives on Saturday Jan. 30 and discussed extending the deadline until the end of June, once the school year is over.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer is currently trying to negotiate with SoCalGas to give residents more time to return home.

Read SoCalGas’s full press release about the final phase of the repair here.