Today marks one-year since the beginning of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, the largest natural gas leak in US history. During a four-month period over 20,000 residents were forced to relocate, two schools were forced to close, thousands of residents endured negative health symptoms, and countless local businesses suffered devastating effects. For 119 days, thousands of people were displaced causing physical, emotional, psychological and environmental damage.
During the crisis my office received thousands of phone calls from residents who were uncertain of the health risks for their families and the relocation resources available. We focused on the immediate need of residents as they transitioned to temporary housing.
We demanded SoCal Gas:
- Create a multilingual website dedicated to the gas leak
- Open a Customer Resource Center in Porter Ranch
- Provide air filters for residences and businesses
- Recognize a 5-mile radius of Adjacent Communities affected for relocation and remediation purposes
- Test and remediate oily residue in affected residents' homes and throughout the community
I created the Porter Ranch Community Advisory Committee (PRCAC) comprised of community representatives to ensure the immediate and accurate dissemination of information and an open line of communication with SoCal Gas for residents. My office hosted several informational town halls including a legal town hall, for residents to know their rights, and the only Korean-language town hall. We secured Real-Time Fenceline Air Quality Monitoring for the immediate community.
We partnered with the Valley Economic Alliance and the US Small Business Administration to provide immediate aid to businesses affected by the leak. My office hosted City Attorneys to obtain affidavits of relocated residents to enable judicially-backed relocation and reimbursement. We obtained sewer and trash adjustments for relocated residents and opened a Recovery Center at Mason Park for residents to access a one-stop shop for reentry assistance.
Together with our state and federal partners, we took legislative action to hold SoCal Gas responsible for their actions, demanded an investigation of the leak and called for sweeping reforms of the oil and gas industry. With many local residents, we went to Sacramento and testified before the Utilities and Commerce Commission to protect our neighborhood from the Aliso Canyon Facility and the supported the passage of SB 380 and AB2756.
A year later, we have seen our community come together. Whether it be volunteering at local schools, shopping at local businesses, creating neighborhood watch programs, or getting more involved in Neighborhood Councils and non-profits, we have seen our community rebound. Legislatively, we are more focused than ever to end our dependence on fossil fuels and never allow these types of facilities to open or operate in our backyards.
The safety of this community remains my highest priority. As your City Councilmember, I will continue to fight for this community as I have from day one.
All the Best,
Councilmember Mitchell Englander