22 de dezembro de 2015

Methane gas leak forces S. California residents out of their homes


By Paul Vercammen, CNN
Updated 0640 GMT (1440 HKT) December 16, 2015
CNN
Yitz Dekel walked his dogs outside his temporary home, a residential hotel in Calabasas, California, and described the massive natural gas leak he says forced him out of his suburban Los Angeles retirement community in Porter Ranch.
"A nightmare," the 79-year-old began. "Unsettling, very depressing, very confusing."
Dekel and his wife Stella represent just one of the 1,675 households Southern California Gas Company says it has paid to relocate because of methane leaking at a storage facility it owns in the Santa Susana Mountains.
"We had, especially for my wife, some dizziness," Dekel said. "Then in my case inexplicable fatigue. And my neighbors, some in ill health, had major coughing and irritation in the eyes and throat. Some had nose bleeding."
SoCal Gas is being vilified by angry Porter Ranch residents and local politicians. One affected family has already filed a lawsuit.
The utility vows it's working around the clock to stop the leak, first reported on October 23.
Disrupted lives
Kyoko Hibino and her boyfriend Matt Pakuchko live just over a mile from the storage facility where the methane is leaking and say nausea, headaches, congestion and more forced them, and their five cats, into temporary housing at a hotel in Burbank.
"From day one (SoCal Gas) didn't correctly inform us," Hibino said. "They said it was just part of maintenance and it would be over in a few hours."
The couple has founded the group Save Porter Ranch and suggest a class action lawsuit may be in the works.
Brian and Christine Katz, parents of five children, have already filed suit against SoCal Gas, saying their 2-year-old daughter Ava has suffered greatly from the leak.
"She spent four nights in (intensive care) for 'upper respiratory symptoms' with no prior health problem," the lawsuit states. "She experienced some form of seizure and is now listless, suffering from persistent rashes, and painful nausea."