Attorneys for Los Angeles County have filed a request with the Superior Court of California to halt the reopening of the Southern California Gas Co.’s natural gas facilities at Aliso Canyon, the site of a methane leak that forced more than 8,000 residents from their homes in late 2015.
The county petitioned for an immediate stay, an injunction and a temporary restraining order against the reinstatement of limited operations at the Aliso Canyon site, which were approved on July 19 by the California Public Utilities Commission and the state Department of Conservation Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, according to court documents.
“Before the prohibition on injections can be lifted, SoCalGas must show … that all necessary steps to ensure the safety of the facility have been completed,” the filings stated. A facility-wide emergency response plan must also be enforced prior to reopening the site, a condition that has not yet been met, the County claimed.
The move follows Friday’s amendment to a March lawsuit by L.A. County that claims the state agencies failed to complete safety and environmental impact reviews in accordance with state laws. The update included a complaint that the agencies had neglected to disclose public documents related to the cause of the leak and had ignored a gas manager’s concerns about the risks posed by seismic activity to the oil wells at the Aliso gas field, according to court documents cited by the L.A. Times.
“The County’s ... claims are baseless and wrong: Aliso Canyon is safe to operate,” SoCalGas said Monday in a statement to stakeholders. “This is not just our conclusion, but the conclusion of the only state regulators.”
The California Department of Conservation declined to comment on the litigation but directed the Business Journal to public comments on seismic risk at the Aliso Canyon facilities and root cause analysis of the gas leak. The California Public Utilities Commission could not be reached by press time.
A hearing on the matter will take place before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Wiley on Friday, a county spokesman said.