US

Lawyer: Gas well missing valve that could have stopped fumes displacing residents

  • FILE - In this Dec. 9, 2015 file photo, crews work on a relief well at the Aliso Canyon facility above the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles. The escape of tons of natural gas from under a Los Angeles neighborhood is taking months to stop because of pressure from the leak. The leak at Porter Ranch started in October, and likely won’t be fixed for at least two more months. Officials have relocated several thousand residents who said the stench made them sick. (Dean Musgrove/Los Angeles Daily News via AP, Pool, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 9, 2015 file photo, crews work on a relief well at the Aliso Canyon facility above the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles. The escape of tons of natural gas from under a Los Angeles neighborhood is taking months to stop because of pressure from the leak. The leak at Porter Ranch started in October, and likely won’t be fixed for at least two more months. Officials have relocated several thousand residents who said the stench made them sick. (Dean Musgrove/Los Angeles Daily News via AP, Pool, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This Nov. 3, 2015, file photo provided by Southern California Gas Co., shows equipment being used as SoCalGas crews and technical experts attempt to safely stop the flow of natural gas leaking from a storage well at the utility’s Aliso Canyon facility near Northridge section of Los Angeles. The escape of tons of natural gas from under a Los Angeles neighborhood is taking months to stop because of pressure from the leak. The leak at Porter Ranch started in October, and likely won’t be fixed for at least two more months. Officials have relocated several thousand residents who said the stench made them sick. (Javier Mendoza/SoCalGas via AP)

    FILE - This Nov. 3, 2015, file photo provided by Southern California Gas Co., shows equipment being used as SoCalGas crews and technical experts attempt to safely stop the flow of natural gas leaking from a storage well at the utility’s Aliso Canyon facility near Northridge section of Los Angeles. The escape of tons of natural gas from under a Los Angeles neighborhood is taking months to stop because of pressure from the leak. The leak at Porter Ranch started in October, and likely won’t be fixed for at least two more months. Officials have relocated several thousand residents who said the stench made them sick. (Javier Mendoza/SoCalGas via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A lawyer says a leaking natural gas well beneath a Los Angeles neighborhood lacks a working safety valve that could stop the release of fumes.

Attorney Brian Panish, who represents displaced residents who are suing over the months-long leak, says the valve might not have prevented the leak but could have stopped the flow of fumes.

The Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1PaldxB) reported Monday that Southern California Gas Co. confirmed that its well at Porter Ranch did not have the deep subsurface valve.

Company spokeswoman Melissa Bailey says such a valve is not required by law.

Attorneys for residents say the company failed to replace the safety valve when it was removed in 1979.

The leak has forced the relocation of several thousand residents who say the stench made them sick

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/