Doctors Sound Alarm as State of Emergency Declared over CA Gas Leak: Leave Now

January 7, 2016   |   Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish
January 7, 2016

(ANTIMEDIA) Los Angeles, CA — California Governor Jerry Brown finally declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, concerning the ongoing, currently unstoppable methane gas leak spewing from Aliso Canyon that has created a nightmare for residents of Porter Ranch.

“I will tell you, this goes well beyond Porter Ranch. We’ve had complaints from as far as Chatsworth, Northridge, and Granada Hills,” emphasized Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander during a Porter Ranch town hall meeting on December 28. “Apparently this plume of toxic chemicals and whatever it might be, doesn’t know zip codes […] This is the equivalent of the BP oil spill on land, in a populated community.

Aliso Canyon sits less than two and a half miles from Porter Ranch and less than 30 miles from the city of Los Angeles — the second most populous city in the United States — whose outlying total statistical area includes nearly 18 million residents, as of 2013.

Brown has been widely criticized for lack of decisive action on the leak, which is erupting from its underground storage area with all the force “of a volcano.” Under Wednesday’s declaration, “all state agencies will utilize state personnel, equipment, and facilities to ensure a continuous and thorough state response to this incident.”

Porter Ranch residents have been evacuating the area for some time, though SoCalGas’ rather maladroit handling of the relocation procedure has been a nightmare — and the cause for a mounting number of lawsuits, including one from the L.A. city attorney’s office.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a civil lawsuit last month concerning the massive methane leak’s impact on area residents’ health and damage to the environment — which alleged failure by SoCalGas to prevent the leak and further exacerbation of “the effects of that failure by allowing acute odor and health problems faced by the community to persist for more than a month, to say nothing about the indefinite time it will persist into the future.”

Pediatrician Dr. Richard Kang gave an ominous warning during the Porter Ranch meeting, saying, “Unfortunately, the only real way to get away from the symptoms is… you have to relocate — you have to get away from the environment.” Health complaints include severe headaches, nosebleeds, respiratory issues including increasing cases of asthma, and a number of other issues.

SoCalGas, in the meantime, stated they were “providing air filters for people’s homes,” but though “the odor added to the leaking gas can cause symptoms for some, the gas is not toxic and county health officials have said the leak does not pose a long-term health risk.

But, as the Los Angeles Daily News reported on December 25, Los Angeles County health officials said prolonged exposure to trace chemicals, some of which are known carcinogens, can cause long-term health effects.” Nevertheless, they also “cautioned that levels examined so far here are not believed to be associated with long-term health problems.”

“The gas company says, ‘This is just the smell you’re reacting to, it’s just temporary, it’s not a problem, it’s not serious’ — these people aren’t stupid,” said attorney Rex Paris. “How could somebody possibly say that? We have children whose noses are bleeding every day, we have people who suffer from chronic headaches [and] are nauseous every, single day. How does that not become a serious issue? Why are they saying something nobody here believes? […] They’re trying to convince everybody that it’s all in our heads. It’s a trick.”

In fact, as Erin Brockovich pointed out, “no one really knows the long-term side effects of benzene and radon, the carcinogens that are commonly found in natural gas.”

Additionally, area house pets seem particularly vulnerable — possibly acting the part of unwitting canaries — as veterinarian Dr. David Smith described in the town hall meeting. Noting he has seen dozens of sickened animals, Smith said, “I’ve seen dogs, cats, birds, pocket pets… the primary symptoms I’ve seen are gastrointestinal vomiting […]These are not things you should be inhaling. He added, “We have seen dermatological issues as well, some very unusual bacterial infections in dogs,” including one case in which a dog had such an infection on its face, and “the client developed almost the exact same kind of symptoms soon after that […] their physician thinks it’s related [to exposure from the gas leak] and so I tend to think these correlations are real.”

Though the declaration of emergency states “the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources shall continue its prohibition against Southern California Gas Company injecting any gas into the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility,” it does not make that moratorium dependent on stoppage of the leak; rather, only “until a comprehensive review, utilizing independent experts […] is completed.”

Physician Dr. Brooks Michaels, addressing the town hall meeting, gave the sternest advice to those still in the area surrounding the unprecedented leak:

“If you have a chance to leave, if you’re able to leave… if you have a chance to relocate, do it now. I’m telling you, it’s really critical.”

Understandably, Brown’s state of emergency seems almost too little, too late for many.

You can watch the Porter Ranch town hall meeting here:


This article (Doctors Sound Alarm as State of Emergency Declared over CA Gas Leak: Leave Now) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Author: Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include thwarting war propaganda through education, the refugee crisis & related issues, 1st Amendment concerns, ending police brutality, and general government & corporate accountability. Born in North Carolina, she now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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41 Comments

  1. I feel sad for the residents that live there. I feel sad that they have to moved out from their safe haven. Bless you all. Sending positive energies.

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  2. How long before the GOP refuses help for California refugees, y'think?

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  3. I am ­­­­­­­­­making ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­good ­­­­­­­­­salary ­­­­­­­­­from ­­­­­­­­­home ­­­­­­­­­$1200­­­­­­­­­-­­­­­­­­­$2500/week , ­­­­­­­­­which ­­­­­­­­­is ­­­­­­­­­amazing, ­­­­­­­­­under ­­­­­­­­­a year ago I ­­­­­­­­­was ­­­­­­­­­jobless ­­­­­­­­­in ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­horrible ­­­­­­­­­economy. ­­­­­­­­­I thank God ­­­­­­­­­every ­­­­­­­­­day ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­was ­­­­­­­­­blessed ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­these ­­­­­­­­­instructions and ­­­­­­­­­now it's ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­my ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­duty ­­­­­­­­­to ­­­­­­­­­pay ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­forward ­­­­­­­­­and share ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­Everyone, ­­­­­­­­­Here is ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­started,,,,,,­­­­­­­­­

    llllllllllllw­w­w.­ba­nk­no­w­5­4­­.­­c­­o­mllllllllllllll

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  4. I am ­­­­­­­­­making ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­good ­­­­­­­­­salary ­­­­­­­­­from ­­­­­­­­­home ­­­­­­­­­$1200­­­­­­­­­-­­­­­­­­­$2500/week , ­­­­­­­­­which ­­­­­­­­­is ­­­­­­­­­amazing, ­­­­­­­­­under a year ago I ­­­­­­­­­was ­­­­­­­­­jobless ­­­­­­­­­in ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­horrible ­­­­­­­­­economy. ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­thank God ­­­­­­­­­every ­­­­­­­­­day ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­was blessed with these ­­­­­­­­­instructions and ­­­­­­­­­now ­­­­­­­­­it's ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­my ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­duty ­­­­­­­­­to ­­­­­­­­­pay ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­forward ­­­­­­­­­and share ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­Everyone, ­­­­­­­­­Here ­­­­­­­­­is ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­started,,,,,,­­­­­­­­­

    w­­­w­­­w.o­­­n­­­l­­­i­­­n­­­e­­­j­­­o­­­b­­­s­­­1­­­0­­­0.c­­­o­­­m………………….Work at homes

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  5. Jeff Swanson More like YOU are !. She hit the nail on the head with that comment. Just like the DOZENS of GOP who voted against disaster relief when Sandy hit, saying we cant afford it . Then suddenly had thier hands out when disaster hit the states they live in !.

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  6. Roger Schramm, actually it depends on to what refugees she was referring to. If she was drawing a comparison to the Syrian refugees then I have to agree with Jeff. The world was just given a taste of where that scenario can head with what we just saw in Germany with all the sexual assaults on New Year's Eve. However, if the comparison is drawn to Sandy then yes you are on the mark. So the only question is, to which refugees was she referring to?

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  7. If obozo can relocate hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens, he can sure relocate American citizens. Just sayin.

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  8. Once again i see comments about dems and repub fighting, this will be our downfall, all this fighting within, America WAS once great but now we are all fighting within while our enemies arrange to take us down!!!

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  9. What area is this? I was smelling gas from Palo Alto to Sunnyvale yesterday. And, it seemed more like the gas from a stove or barbecue than gasoline from a station.

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  10. With that much Methane, the Globe should really Warm. Maybe to the point of over 65 MYA when the dinosaurs ruled? The overwhelmingly extended period of warm that covered the entire earth. No Ice Caps warm. Cretaceous period of time was Creature prolific. Maybe the 'new' earth is beginning? If so, bring on the methane :>)

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  11. "No long term health effects." Isn't that what the WTC workers were told? Oh yes, it was…knew it sounded familiar.

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  12. Where is Obama on this one, haven't heard from the White House, you gotta wonder why? My question is, why can't they stop the leak, the article never said why they can't stop it. I was exposed to natural gas once, and it made me nauseous, light headed and sleepy. My mom came home from work, and when she walked in she smelled it immediately, and checked the burners. I had been cleaning the stove top and had inadvertently turned a burner on, just enough for gas to be leaking out. Had it happen in my own house too, my stepdad had hooked up our gas line to the new stove wrong, and it sprung a leak. This time I knew something wasn't right and called Socal gas company, they came out and figured out what the problem was right away. Don't hesitate to call the gas company if you smell, or suspect a gas leak, don't light any matches, turn on a light or anything else until the gas company checks it out.

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  13. Porter Ranch is in the Los Angeles area near Aliso Canyon. Where I live, it smells like rotten eggs, or sulphur in the air, mainly from our water, which is kind of scary to me, and it is not just my house water, I smell it everywhere I go in the Temecula Valley. Other people have complained of their water smelling too.

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  14. YEAH, NO LONG TERM EFFECTS JUST LIKE THEY PUMP ALL THESE POISON DRUGS INTO OUR SYSTEM THEN TELL YOU OF ALL THE SIDE EFFECTS INCLUDING DEATH AFTER THE FACT LIES, LIES, LIES JMO

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  15. There is a simple way to take care of this stuff, they should burn it off like they do at refineries.

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  16. I remember seeing a program on TV several years ago and it was said that if the Methane gas in the ocean were to starting coming up from the ground, it could cause A MASSAGE FIRE IN THE AIR. Is this possible from this eruption? My question is why can't this be stopped, why must it wait until Spring, that doesn't make sense to me. If SoCalGas would use some of their PROFITS to do the right thing, these type of releases wouldn't happen. Look what happened in No. Cal. Why aren't they having their feet nailed to the ground and making them fix it NOW? I hope each and everyone of these people that are sick, having to leave, and have sick pets sue the company for everything they have. This is inexcusable.

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  17. Colleen, my question too, where is the White House? They seem to want to be in everyone's lives, how about doing something about this, they help every other country with emergencies how about taking care of our own citizens for a change.

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  18. Your state reps and agencies are lying to you CA citizens , that gas is harmful. Leave.

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  19. If methane gas is so "harmless", then have the SoCalGas Company buy up these peoples' properties, so they can AFFORD to relocate. The gas company's officials could then live there and see for themselves just how harmless it is.

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  20. Maybe the gas company should shut the valves and turn the gas off to 18 million people.

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  21. Craig A. Miller Maybe they SHOULD! Or how many may end up being permanently poisoned, with long term, irreversible brain and organ damage , just like the thousands of children in your neck of the woods, Flint, Michigan. The gas company knew this was going to be a problem!

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  22. The removed a shut-off valve 60 years ago and because there was no mandatory fines involved, they didn't feel they had to. Didn't want to lose any money.

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  23. It's the responsibility of the damn company to take care of this! What the hell is wrong with you???

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  24. It's the size of a volcano…put in a search, you can see photos of just how much methane is covering that place.

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  25. You probably should report it to PG&E. Do you remember 5 years ago, the San Bruno neighborhood that blew up and caught fire destroying 35 homes, killing at least 8 people and injuring at least 58 people?

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  26. And go where? Live homeless on the streets? The Gas company should be required to pay to get these people to safety.

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  27. Many years ago, 1985-86 I drove an oil field chemical delivery truck. At times I did deliver chemicals up to those tanks spread out along the various hills in that area. After speaking with several people that worked on those hills I found out that under these hills was stored Gas, natural gas I was told. I questioned how do they store this gas? I was told that the gas is stored way down deep in old oil caverns long ago blead dry. Through the last 30 years I spoke about my times as a chemical truck driver, I would bring this to the listeners attention, everytime they would ask, "what if it explodeded or leaked, isn't this a earthquake prone area"? I always answered, "some day" "Some day this will happen, but for now it's all about profits. That some day, has come……..

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  28. I've been up in those hills delivering Chemicals years ago, I was told that the storage of this gas is in old oil field caverns deep, deep down in the earth. Obviously through the movement of the earth gas has begun to leak, there aren't any valves, no pipes, nothing but the cracks in the earth. Do you remembere the 1970 oil leak in the Santa Barbara Channel? At that time drillers didn't need to case the wells unless they found oil. After abandoning a well with no oil, the no-oil well came in, blew out oil for over 2 years, couldn't cap it because it wasn't cased. Since then, every hole must be cased, oil or no oil. This gas well is the same as the 1970 blow out, you cannot cap it. And remember, this not the only storage cavern under our propertys.

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  29. I am ­­­­­­­­­making ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­good ­­­­­­­­­salary ­­­­­­­­­from ­­­­­­­­­home ­­­­­­­­­$1200­­­­­­­­­-­­­­­­­­­$2500/week , ­­­­­­­­­which ­­­­­­­­­is ­­­­­­­­­amazing, under ­­­­­­­­­a year ago I ­­­­­­­­­was ­­­­­­­­­jobless ­­­­­­­­­in ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­horrible economy. ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­thank God ­­­­­­­­­every ­­­­­­­­­day ­­­­­­­­­I was ­­­­­­­­­blessed ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­these ­­­­­­­­­instructions and ­­­­­­­­­now ­­­­­­­­­it's ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­my ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­duty ­­­­­­­­­to ­­­­­­­­­pay ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­forward ­­­­­­­­­and share ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­Everyone, ­­­­­­­­­Here is ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­started,,,,,,­­­­­­­­­

    ???­­???­w­­­­­w­­­­­w.­­­­­e­­­­­x­­­­­t­­­­­r­­­­­a­­­­­-­­­­­s­­­­­a­­­­­l­­­­­a­­­­­r­­­­­i­­­­­e­­­­­s­­­­­.­­­­­t­­­­­k­­­­­­­­­……………..W­­o­­r­­k­­ A­­t ­­H­­o­­m­­e­­
    C­­o­­p­­y­­&­­P­­a­­s­­t­­e­­ T­­h­­i­­s­­ L­­i­­n­­k

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  30. I am ­­­­­­­­­making ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­good ­­­­­­­­­salary ­­­­­­­­­from ­­­­­­­­­home ­­­­­­­­­$1200­­­­­­­­­-­­­­­­­­­$2500/week , ­­­­­­­­­which ­­­­­­­­­is ­­­­­­­­­amazing, under ­­­­­­­­­a year ago I ­­­­­­­­­was ­­­­­­­­­jobless ­­­­­­­­­in ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­horrible economy. ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­thank God ­­­­­­­­­every ­­­­­­­­­day ­­­­­­­­­I was ­­­­­­­­­blessed ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­these ­­­­­­­­­instructions and ­­­­­­­­­now ­­­­­­­­­it's ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­my ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­duty ­­­­­­­­­to ­­­­­­­­­pay ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­forward ­­­­­­­­­and share ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­Everyone, ­­­­­­­­­Here is ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­started,,,,,,­­­­­­­­­

    ➥➥➥­­➥➥➥­w­­­­­w­­­­­w.­­­­­g­­­­e­­­­t­­­­t­­­­i­­­­n­­­­g­­­­-­­­­e­­­­x­­­­t­­­­r­­­­a­­­­.­­­­t­­­­k­­­­­­­……………..W­­o­­r­­k­­ A­­t ­­H­­o­­m­­e­­
    C­­o­­p­­y­­&­­P­­a­­s­­t­­e­­ T­­h­­i­­s­­ L­­i­­n­­k

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  31. I see SFV residents playing the lawsuit lottery. LOL No loyalty to SCG but how odd that agenda 21 hasn't been mentioned yet. Kinda like 'close encounters of third kind' used a bio gas leak to drive out the residents ranchers. Porter ranch must be UN scheduled to be a wildlife corridor.

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  32. Tell the republicans, we know your dirty tactics! We know you are all puppets of iluminati, the secret masters of the government.They are slowly poisoning us . Now look what happened in Flint Michigan. Then remember what happened to Animas river? They are slowly killing us. Fire Congress! We know their evil agenda. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/River-turned-yellow-blown…

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