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SoCal Gas Will Pay $4 Million For Failure To Report Porter Ranch Gas Leak In Time

An overhead photo of the site of the gas leak at SoCalGas' Aliso Canyon facility near Porter Ranch (Photo by Earthworks)
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The Porter Ranch gas leak was a massive ecological threat. Over a four-month period starting in October of 2015, a leak at the SoCal Gas Company's Aliso Canyon facility spewed roughly 100,000 tons of methane gas into the air. Locals reported headaches and nosebleeds. In total, more than 3,000 households were evacuated, and two schools were temporarily closed.

Of course, SoCal Gas was going to face repercussions. At the beginning of 2016, the company was facing 83 lawsuits, reports the L.A Times. It also faced regulatory fines and penalties. Debra L. Reed, chairman and CEO of parent firm Sempra Energy, was docked $130,000 in pay.

Now, the company will be paying $4 million for failing to report the gas leak in a timely manner, according to a release from District Attorney Jackie Lacey's office. On Tuesday, prosecutors said that SoCal Gas had pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count—the charge alleged that the company didn't report the leak until three days after it'd happened on October 23, 2015.

The $4 million tag is broken down into separate parts. SoCal Gas will be paying $307,500 in fines. The settlement also requires SoCal gas to install a infrared methane monitoring system at the Aliso Canyon facility that will cost about $1.5 million. Also, six full-time employees will be hired to maintain the new gas monitoring systems; this will cost the company about $2.25 million over the next three years.

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"Going forward the protections put in place by this agreement create a safer facility for its employees, the environment and the surrounding communities," Lacey said in the statement.

If you think SoCal Gas should be ponying up more money for their oversight, don't fret, because legal analysts believe that the leak will end up costing the company billions in terms of legal fees.

However, Reed and the other big wigs at Sempra received massive salary bonuses that amounted to millions this year, so yes, you can remain angry.

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