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Governor Finally Declares State Of Emergency Over Porter Ranch Gas Leak

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Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Porter Ranch, where a massive gas leak has forced the evacuation of thousands of residents.On Wednesday, the governor's office made the order, finally answering the thousands who have called for action from his office. Under the order, "all state agencies will utilize state personnel, equipment, and facilities to ensure a continuous and thorough state response to this incident," said Brown's office in a statement. The move comes after he visited the site of the leak at SoCalGas' Aliso Canyon facility and met with a few displaced Porter Ranch residents on Monday.

In making the declaration, the governor will bring together several state agencies to oversee and monitor the leak and the efforts to stop it. The order will have the Public Utilities Commission ensure that SoCalGas covers the cost of the disaster and does not pass it on to ratepayers.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said he was "grateful" for the governor's action and added, in a statement, "The order will bring the additional resources and focus we need—to get people back into their homes, restore confidence in the safety of this community, and begin rebuilding quality of life in the neighborhoods affected by the gas leak." SoCalGas CEO and presdient Dennis Arriola affirmed his company's willingness to cooperate and work with officials to get the leak fixed.

Brown has taken heat from Porter Ranch residents for what is seen as inaction since the leak was discovered in October. "Jerry Brown, wherever you are, come to Porter Ranch as quickly as possible," said L.A. City Councilman Mitch Englander last month. "We need your help."

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Jerry Brown's sister, Kathleen L. Brown, is a board member of Sempra Energy, of which SoCalGas is a subsidiary.

In the latest development at the site, SoCalGas workers have begun putting up nets around the leak to prevent an "oily mist" from blowing over into Porter Ranch.