LOS ANGELES, March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Last week, Los Angeles Superior Court ruled to end SoCalGas' temporary relocation program this Friday, March 25, 2016. The court stated the County produced no evidence that indoor air quality presented a hazard. On Monday, the County appealed the court's decision. On Tuesday afternoon, the Appeals Court issued a stay of the trial court's ruling through at least March 29 to allow time for the parties to brief the issue. SoCalGas issued the following statement in response to the Stay order.
"The Appeals Court's decision today will add to the confusion and frustration for the small percentage of Porter Ranch residents who remain in temporary housing and who were scheduled to return home this Friday.
"The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Department of Public Health (DPH) have been unable or unwilling to provide clarity or to demonstrate any evidence-based need for relocated residents to stay away from their homes. More than one month ago, DPH was granted a 30-day extension of the relocation program in order to perform indoor air testing. To date, DPH has still not finished drafting a testing protocol and no date has been set for their testing program to begin.
"However, a tremendous amount of independent data supports the notion that residents can safely return home. Since October 30, 2015, air quality and health agencies, including the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the California Air Resources Board, The Los Angeles County Department of Health and the State's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment have all independently collected and analyzed more than 4,700 outdoor air samples in the Porter Ranch area. Recent and ongoing tests confirm that the outdoor air in the neighborhood has completely returned to typical background levels. While the leaking well was sealed nearly a month ago, the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District continue to provide near-real-time methane monitoring.
"Throughout the incident, air samples for benzene and other compounds were found to be at, or near levels seen in the rest of the county, and below levels of concern. Third party indoor air screening of more than 70 homes showed typical levels of methane, and did not detect mercaptans or other sulfur compounds associated with natural gas at any levels.
"SoCalGas remains focused on supporting residents and helping the community return to normal life as quickly as possible. We recognize the inconvenience residents of Porter Ranch have experienced, and that many families were and may still be planning to return to their homes this weekend. We will continue to provide dedicated customer service to those residents who choose to stay relocated during this stay period and will also support those families who decide to return to their homes and community sooner. Our Customer Resource Center will remain open and our 100 community liaisons, along with our Customer Service team, will continue to assist residents who relocated as well as those who remained at home, by providing residue and home cleaning assessments, and by working tirelessly to process all remaining reimbursement checks."
About Southern California Gas Co: Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 145 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 21.6 million consumers connected through 5.9 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.
This press release contains statements that are not historical fact and constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements can be identified by words like "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "plans," "estimates," "projects," "forecasts," "contemplates," "intends," "assumes," "depends," "should," "could," "would," "will," "confident," "may," "potential," "possible," "proposed," "target," "pursue," "goals," "outlook," "maintain" or similar expressions, or discussions of guidance, strategies, plans, goals, opportunities, projections, initiatives, objectives or intentions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Future results may differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon various assumptions involving judgments with respect to the future and other risks, including, among others: local, regional, and national economic, competitive, political, legislative, legal, and regulatory conditions, decisions, and developments; actions and the timing of actions, including general rate case decisions, new regulations, issuances of permits to construct, operate and maintain facilities and equipment and to use land, franchise agreements, and licenses for operation, by the California Public Utilities Commission, California State Legislature, U.S. Department of Energy, California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, California Energy Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, California Air Resources Board, South Coast Air Quality Management District, cities and counties, and other regulatory, governmental and environmental bodies in the United States; the timing and success of business development efforts and construction, maintenance and capital projects, including risks in obtaining, maintaining or extending permits, licenses, certificates and other authorizations on a timely basis and risks in obtaining adequate and competitive financing for such projects; deviations from regulatory precedent or practice that result in a reallocation of benefits or burdens among shareholders and ratepayers and delays in regulatory agency authorization to recover costs in rates from customers; the availability of electric power and natural gas, and natural gas pipeline and storage capacity, including disruptions caused by failures in the North American transmission grid, moratoriums on the ability to withdraw natural gas from or inject natural gas into storage facilities, pipeline explosions and equipment failures; energy markets; the timing and extent of changes and volatility in commodity prices, the impact on the value of our natural gas storage assets from low natural gas prices, low volatility of natural gas prices and the inability to procure favorable long-term contracts for natural gas storage services; the resolution of civil and criminal litigation and regulatory investigations; risks that our partners or counterparties will be unable or unwilling to fulfill their contractual commitments; capital markets conditions, including the availability of credit and the liquidity of our investments, and inflation and interest rates; cybersecurity threats to the energy grid, natural gas storage and pipeline infrastructure, the information and systems used to operate our businesses and the confidentiality of our proprietary information and the personal information of our customers and employees; terrorist attacks that threaten system operations and critical infrastructure; wars; weather conditions, natural disasters, catastrophic accidents, equipment failures and other events that may disrupt our operations, damage our facilities and systems, cause the release of greenhouse gasses and harmful emissions, and subject us to third-party liability for property damage or personal injuries some of which may not be covered by insurance; the inability or determination not to enter into long-term supply and sales agreements or long-term firm capacity agreements due to insufficient market interest, unattractive pricing or other factors; and other uncertainties, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control. These risks and uncertainties are further discussed in the reports that the company has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These reports are available through the EDGAR system free-of-charge on the SEC's website, www.sec.gov. Investors should not rely unduly on any forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof, and the company undertakes no obligation to update or revise these forecasts or projections or other forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.