Appeals court rules Aliso Canyon gas storage facility can reopen

Porter Ranch residents are expressing outrage after California's 2nd District Court of Appeals dissolved a stay that temporarily halted the SoCalGas storage facility at Aliso Canyon from reopening.

The decision came down on Saturday, with the court reversing its previous decision to allow the stay after SoCalGas filed an appeal in response to a petition from Los Angeles County to stop the reopening.

The storage facility was the scene of the worst natural gas leak in U.S. history after 109,000 metric tons of methane leaked for five months in late 2015 and early 2016.

A SoCalGas spokesman released a statement in support of the court's decision:

"Saturday's decision by the court of appeals is the right one. Aliso Canyon is safe to operate. This is not just our conclusion, but the conclusion of state regulators with lawful jurisdiction and expertise to oversee the safety of our operations," said Chris Gilbride.

Residents are furious about the court's decision.

"It took them a pretty short time to go through a hell of a lot of documents so I don't know what they were basing their decision on," said Matt Pakucko. "This is being pushed through by regulators appointed by Jerry Brown whose not an environmental leader and they're doing this to make sure so cal gas profits keep flowing."

"I am sickened by this decision," said Deidre Bolona, a Porter Ranch resident. "I'm pretty frustrated about our government really, governor Jerry brown wanted to leave a green legacy, we had high hopes for him but he disappointed us, he failed the people of the San Fernando Valley.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger called the court's decision an unfortunate setback, and said the county will file an appeal on Monday, citing health and safety concerns for Porter Ranch residents.

"Very disappointed, but for the county, this is about doing what's right and we are going to appeal," she said. "We are going to follow up on this, I believe we're on solid ground as it relates to the concerns of county fire and county health have brought up and this is not based on political thoughts in terms of shut it down, it's based on facts, scientific facts and based on really ensuring that we are protecting the residents of Porter Ranch in that area".

Barger also pointed out that SoCalGas legally can't begin operations at Aliso Canyon again until they give a 24 hour notice to county fire officials, which hasn't happened yet.

She is confident the appeal will be successful when filed on Monday.

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