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Protesters Stage Sit-In Demanding Closure Of Aliso Canyon Gas Facility

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Nearly two dozen protesters marched to the Aliso Canyon Gas Facility to demand its closure following the massive Porter Ranch gas leak.

Around 1 p.m. on Sunday, 21 protesters from several environmental groups marched to the gas facility in the hills above Porter Ranch. Many sat in the road blocking the entrance for more than three hours, according to the Daily News. The demonstrators carried large photos of Governor Jerry Brown, Mayor Eric Garcetti and other officials they blame for not taking more aggressive action to permanently shut the facility after a SoCalGas-operated well released roughly 100,000 tons of methane gas over a four month period. The group sat cross-legged across the SoCalGas-owned roadway, just yards from the security checkpoint, where they sang songs and, according to the L.A. Times, shouted several chants, including "I don't know but I've been told, SoCalGas has got to go!" and "Jerry Brown, shut it all down!"

LAPD officers stood by during the peaceful demonstration, but no arrests were made at the request of SoCalGas. Security officials from the facility also kept an eye on the protest, which didn't seem to have too much effect on the facility, according to the Times.

According to Alexandra Nagy, one of the protesters and an organizer from the environmental non-profit Food & Water Watch, the demonstration was in response to Gov. Brown's backing last week of SB 380. The bill would allow SoCalGas to resume injections and withdrawals at the facility if the wells pass safety tests.

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"This facility has proven to be extremely dangerous," Nagy told the Times. "The smells are still coming from this facility… Thousands of people are still displaced." Last month, Porter Ranch residents said they could smell gas again, despite the well having been supposedly capped in February.

The group also included members of other environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity and SoCal 350, as well as two local residents. Other residents, many of whom were displaced from their homes due to the leak, cheered for the protesters from the sidewalk.

In April, another well owned by a private company at the Aliso Canyon facility also spouted gas and oil in the air above Porter Ranch, though the well was capped several hours later.