California Gas Leak: Governor Jerry Brown Declares State of Emergency

California Governor Jerry Brown earlier today declared a state of emergency over the continuing massive gas-leak that has been troubling residents of a Los Angeles neighborhood since October last year. According to an ABC News report, the state of emergency was declared after he received multiple requests from local residents living in the community of Porter Ranch. The “prolonged and continuing” nature of the gas leak has also led to the declaration of a state of emergency, a statement issued by Jerry Brown clarified. The declaration also means agencies would be asked to take all necessary measures to resolve the issue without further delays.

Here are a few excerpts from the statement.

“Given the prolonged and continuing duration of the Aliso Canyon gas leak and at the request of residents and local officials, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued a proclamation that declares the situation an emergency and details the administration’s ongoing efforts to help stop the leak. The order also directs further action to protect public health and safety, ensure accountability and strengthen oversight of gas storage facilities.”

“Today’s proclamation builds on months of regulatory and oversight actions from seven state agencies mobilized to protect public health, oversee Southern California Gas Company’s actions to stop the leak, track methane emissions, ensure worker safety, safeguard energy reliability and address any other problems stemming from the leak.”

The Inquisitr has already reported about the gas leak which is being already termed the largest gas leak in U.S. history. The gas leak involves several thousand tonnes of methane gas being released into the air – since October. The leak has also forced several residents living in the vicinity away from their homes. The gas leak has already been termed an environmental disaster. What is even worse is the fact that authorities do not expect to fix the leak until April this year. A recent analysis revealed that methane gas was billowing out of the Aliso Canyon well at an alarming rate of 110,000 pounds per hour.

Following the discovery of the leak last year, several residents from the area complained that the gas was making them sick. Symptoms ranged from nosebleeds to nausea and headaches to a host of other ailments. According to The New York Times, the whole area reeks the smell of sulfur as well. Meanwhile, in spite of assurances from several health officials who claimed that the the gas leak poses no long-term health dangers, several people have moved away from their homes and have temporarily relocated elsewhere. Some have taken refuge in local hotels. Several schools in the area have also been affected and closed.

The gas field where the gas leak happened is operated by the Southern California Gas Company. The firm has already paid many residents to help them relocate. They have already clarified in spite of their continuous efforts, they do not expect the completely plug the leak before April.

Meanwhile, several locals have welcomed the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency. Matt Pakucko, the head of a community group has been trying to push the state to declare a state of emergency for quite some time reportedly cried when he heard about the order. Like many others from his neighborhood, Pakucko and his girlfriend have temporarily moved to a hotel. He added that while he was concerned whether the governor would take some strong action, he is happy with the latest decision.

“I’m not worried about being validated or vindicated, but that people get what they need,” he said. “And that’s what we’ve been pushing for.”

[Photo by Matt Mills McKnight-Pool/Getty Images]