Southern California Gas Co. and Sempra Energy will settle the lawsuit on behalf of 35,000 victims of the 2015 explosion that was nearly four months in control.
The Aliso Canyon explosion was the most significant methane release in American history. It was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people who fled their homes near San Fernando Valley because of the sulfurous stench.
Plaintiffs claimed personal injury due to their illnesses and property damages to their homes. SoCalGas spent over $1 billion to resolve the crisis. Most of the money was used to relocate 8,000 families temporarily. More than 385 lawsuits have been filed against the utility on behalf of 48,000 customers.
Attorney Brian Panish stated in a statement that "our goal has always been to obtain justice for the men and women who were failed SoCalGas throughout any turn of this catastrophe."
Plaintiffs claimed they sustained personal injury and property damages after a natural gas storage tank failed, releasing nearly 100,000 tons of methane over 118 days.
SoCalGas stated that it will record an after-tax cost of $1.1 billion each month and expects to receive total settlement payments in excess of $1.85 billion. The agreement must be accepted by 97% of plaintiffs. It could be reduced if less agree.
Scott Drury CEO of SoCalGas stated that these agreements were an important milestone which will assist the community and our company in moving forward with this difficult chapter.
Matt Pakucko is the founder of Save Porter Ranch. He issued a statement urging the permanent closure of the facility. Natural gas is stored below a mountain in old oil wells that are now empty.
He said, "You cannot put a price on human suffering." "SoCalGas’ devastating blowout won't be over until the Aliso Canyon storage unit is closed and the threat it presents to the community is eliminated permanently. "We are not close to a solution."
The state regulators discovered that the gas company didn't investigate well failures in the storage site before and that it didn't properly assess the aging wells for potential disasters prior to the Oct. 23, 2015. blowout.
SoCalGas reached an $120 million court settlement before being convicted by the Los Angeles Superior Court for failing to report the leak quickly to the state authorities.