Description: Action by city, county, and state against the owner and operator of a leaking natural gas storage facility in California seeking penalties and injunctive relief.
California v. Southern California Gas Co.
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 02/25/2019 Press Release Court's approval of settlement announced. CARB Announced Approval of Settlement of SoCalGas That Will Fully Mitigate Methane Released During Aliso Canyon Gas Leak. On February 25, 2019, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced that a California Superior Court had approved a settlement with Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) in the lawsuit arising from the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak that began in 2015. CARB said the settlement, which was announced in August 2018, would fully mitigate the 109,000 metric tons of methane released during the leak. SoCalGas must pay $119.5 million, which includes $26.5 million for addressing methane emissions from dairies, as well as $45.4 million for a supplemental environmental project run by the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, and the California Attorney General’s Office; $21 million in civil penalties; $19 million to cover governmental response and litigation costs; and $7.6 million to be held in reserve for mitigation, if needed. CARB said that biomethane generated at dairies would be injected into the pipeline system for use as transportation fuel, which would help to prevent localized nitrogen oxides emissions generated by biomethane’s use for electrical generation. 08/08/2018 Consent Decree Download Proposed consent decree lodged. Southern California Gas Co. to Mitigate Methane Emissions, Fund Environmental Projects to Resolve Governmental Claims Arising from Aliso Canyon Gas Leak. On August 8, 2018, the California attorney general, Los Angeles city and county officials, and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) lodged a proposed consent decree in the California Superior Court that would resolve the governmental parties’ civil claims arising from the natural gas leak from SoCalGas’s Aliso Canyon storage facility in 2015. The consent decree requires SoCalGas to mitigate 109,000 tons of methane emissions in accordance with the terms of a Mitigation Agreement, which provides that the mitigation projects will at least initially be dairy-digester biomethane projects. The Mitigation Agreement was subject to 35 days of public comment. The proposed consent decree also requires payment of $119.5 million to fund the methane mitigation obligation, a mitigation reserve, civil penalties, supplemental environmental projects (SEPs), and the governmental plaintiffs’ costs. The approved SEPs include projects to improve air quality in public schools in environmental justice communities, enhanced air monitoring and reporting requirements in the area near the Aliso Canyon facility and in other areas in the county, mobile asthma clinics, electric school buses and infrastructure, a study of the long-term health effects of natural gas and its constituents, and lead-based paint abatement projects. In addition, SoCalGas must continue to conduct fenceline methane monitoring for at least eight years and comply with associated public disclosure, notice, and reporting requirements. 02/01/2016 Complaint Download Second amended complaint filed. The causes of action in the second amended complaint included public nuisance and violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law. The complaint alleged that the release of methane would have detrimental impacts on the state, city, county, environment, and economy due to the exacerbation of climate change impacts. The alleged unfair business practices were also grounded in part in the release of significant quantities of a potent greenhouse gas. The action sought injunctive relief and civil penalties. 02/01/2016 Stipulation Download Leave sought to file second amended complaint adding California Attorney General as a plaintiff. California Attorney General Joined City and County of Los Angeles in Public Nuisance Actions Stemming from Leak at Southern California Gas Storage Facility. In February 2016, the California Attorney General sought to join the action both in her independent capacity and on behalf of the California Air Resources Board. 12/07/2015 Complaint Download Complaint filed. The City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles filed an action on behalf of the state in December 2015 against the owner and operator of the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility, a natural gas storage facility at which a leak was discovered in October 2015. The County Counsel joined that action in January 2016.