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Protesters Rally Against The Planned Reopening Of Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Facility

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About 300 protesters gathered in Porter Ranch on Monday night to stand against the planned reopening of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility. State regulators deemed the notorious facility safe to reopen, albeit at "a greatly reduced capacity," last week.

The northwest San Fernando Valley facility was home to the largest accidental methane leak in U.S. history, spewing more than 109,000 metric tons of natural gas into the air and forcing thousands out of their homes from October 2015 to February 2016. Despite activists' calls for permanent closure of the facility, the state's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources and the California Public Utilities Commission ruled last Wednesday that the Southern California Gas Company could resume natural gas injections at Aliso Canyon.

On Monday, attorneys for the County of Los Angeles petitioned for an immediate stay and injunction against the reopening. "The facility must remain closed until the root cause analysis and energy reliability study are completed and the health concerns of our impacted residents are fully addressed to the satisfaction of county health officials," County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement. Lawyers for the county will appear in court to seek a temporary restraining order against the reopening on Friday, according to City News Service.

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Meanwhile, Southern California Gas Company officials asserted that "Aliso Canyon is safe to operate” in a letter sent Monday to elected officials and community leaders, according to the L.A. Times.

That same day, the large group of protesters flooded the intersection of Tampa Avenue and Rinaldi Street in Porter Ranch, wearing red shirts and chanting "Shut it all down" and "SoCalGas has got to go, stop the lies and stop the leaks." Many of the protesters held signs specifically calling out Governor Jerry Brown, demanding that he take action to help close the facility.

We know that it's poison," Porter Ranch resident J.D. Dorfman told KTLA on Monday. "We have the air levels every day showing that they continue to poison us."

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