Photo via Southern California Gas Co.
Photo via Southern California Gas Co.

Porter Ranch-area residents displaced by the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak will be able to remain in temporary housing — at Southern California Gas Co. expense — until at least June 7, with a judge ruling Wednesday there is still uncertainty about the safety of returning to their homes.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Wiley Jr. set another hearing on the issue for June 7 to revisit the issue.

The ruling was another courtroom loss for SoCalGas, which argued there is no lingering health risk for residents in the Porter Ranch area. The Aliso Canyon leak, which was discovered Oct. 23, was capped on Feb. 18.

A different judge last month ordered that the temporary housing program end, but a state appeals court overturned that decision, ordering SoCalGas to continue funding the program until at least Wednesday.

Gas Co. attorneys argued last month the company was paying about $1.8 million a day to pay for the roughly 2,600 residents still living in temporary housing.

Attorneys for Los Angeles County and the city argue that more thorough testing is needed to ensure residents will be safe when they return home. County health officials said last month they had received about 300 complaints from Porter Ranch residents who returned to their homes and claimed to have developed more health problems.

The complaints — including nausea, stomach aches and respiratory irritation — prompted the county to begin door-to-door visits in hopes of understanding why symptoms were still being reported.

—City News Service

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