Gas Leak: Attorney General Harris Announces Civil Suit and LA County DA Files Charges for SoCalGas

Here come Kamala and Jackie…

The state lawsuit joins and amends one filed in December by the Los Angeles City Attorney and Los Angeles County Counsel. The state lawsuit alleges health and safety violations on SoCalGas’ part as the leak has yet to be plugged and continues to force the relocation of the residents of Porter Ranch.

In the press release announcing the lawsuit, Attorney General Harris said “Southern California Gas Company must be held accountable. This gas leak has caused significant damage to the Porter Ranch community as well as our statewide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow the impacts of climate change.”

Harris’ suit goes after SoCalGas for civil penalties, restitution and injunctions to enforce regulations.

L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey also had some legal words for SoCalGas, filing four misdemeanor charges that accuse the SoCalGas company of neglecting to report the leak until three days after it began. Should those charges stick, the fines would max out at $25,000 for each day unreported, and $1,000 for each day unabated (97 days at the time of writing). Bringing total maximum fines up to $173,000 for those keeping score at home, or in their relocated dwelling.

Lastly, these two suits bring the number of litigating public agencies to 11, and Mitchell Englander, the Los Angeles City Councilman representing the affected area, probably did not bat an eyelash in saying, "Quite frankly, it's not litigation overkill at all. The damage the gas has caused to residents, the environment, the economy, is unprecedented."

More on the newest Porter Ranch Gas Leak legal action can be found here.