Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.  Photo by John Schreiber.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Photo by John Schreiber.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday there needs to be accountability for an ongoing gas leak at a Southern California Gas Co. facility near Porter Ranch, but the “first responsibility” is to cap the well, which has been releasing natural gas into the atmosphere for more than two months.

Garcetti said the leak at the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility “has been traumatizing for our Porter Ranch residents” and described it as a “disaster on the scale of what we saw with Deepwater Horizon.”

While “there will be hell to pay for this” with the City Attorney Mike Feuer suing and several class action lawsuits filed, “but in the meantime, we’ve got to make sure these families and these kids are safe,” the mayor said on KNX radio’s “Ask the Mayor” show in response to a question about whether there should criminal charges against whoever is responsible for the leak.

Garcetti said the date the leak actually began is still unknown and questions still remain as to why the leak was reported to authorities a week after it was discovered on Oct. 23.

He said “somebody has to be held accountable,” but added that “the first responsibility … is to get this well capped, then we can talk about what happens next.”

The leak has led to thousands of residents relocating from the area, with some complaining of health problems. Two schools in Porter Ranch have also closed and students moved to alternate campuses.

— City News Service 

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