Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Speaks Out Against AQMD

On Jan. 28., environmental attorney and activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. spoke on CBS Radio Los Angeles (KNX) about the AQMD’s actions regarding the SoCalGas well blowout.

When asked how California regulators are not doing enough, Kennedy answered that the language in the AQMD’s decision protected the gas utility, and intended to permanently immunize SoCalGas.

Kennedy issued the following statement on Jan. 27 regarding the recent AQMD actions:

“The order approved by SoCal Gas from AQMD is a collusive consent order intended to immunize SoCal Gas from a Clean Air Act Citizen Suit Action.  The proposed Order allegedly resolves all liability issues with a sweetheart deal, and now a complaint, requesting only nominal civil penalties. 

The order nowhere requires SoCal Gas to perform the hard work of exploring permanent closure of the facility. California regulators are acting the part of the classic “captive agency” instead of protecting the public from pollution.  AQMD, like DOGGR, are behaving like sock puppets for a company that they are charged with regulating. Virtually every action to date has exposed AQMD’s dogged obsession with keeping SoCal Gas’s rusting and decrepit Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Facility open rather than forcing the company to engage in the long-term studies and planning required for an orderly shutdown and transition to safe and clean energy sources. 

Instead of devising tricky gimmicks to help SoCal Gas duck accountability for its crimes, AQMD should be focusing on its neglected responsibility to force the company to 1) properly characterize the gas plume, 2) come clean about its history of unreported discharges, 3) come clean about the misallocation of safety upgrade funding, and 4) safeguard public health and private property. 

So Cal Gas’ Porter Ranch well failure is also a failure of government.  It’s time that regulators recall that they are public servants – not indentured servants to the gas company.”


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