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Unabated LA area gas leak compared to BP oil spill

Los Angeles Daily News, Susan Abram – “Eight weeks after that call was made, the leak continues. It has caused massive disruption in the northwestern San Fernando Valley community of Porter Ranch, an affluent community of nearly 31,000 residents about 28 miles from downtown Los Angeles. More than 1,800 families have been relocated by the gas company and more than 1,000 remain on a waiting list. Some say they can’t remember a displacement of residents this large since the Northridge earthquake in 1994, when 20,000 people were left homeless. Two local elementary schools have been impacted, with nearly 2,000 schoolchildren and staff slated to be moved to other schools in January. Enough methane gas is being released to fill the Empire State building each day, state officials have said, and the concern has even reached the Federal Aviation Administration, which issued temporary flight restrictions over the area for small aircraft and helicopters. The gas company has apologized but has said the leak may take four months to plug and to create a relief well. “It’s like the BP spill on land,” said environmental activist Erin Brockovich, who was made famous by successfully battling Pacific Gas and Electric Co. over groundwater contamination in the community of Hinkley in the Inland Empire in 1996. “I’ve really never seen anything like this. I think the magnitude is enormous. Its like a volcano, and the gas is like the lava that can’t be shut off…”

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