Hundreds of Porter Ranch residents demand closure of Aliso Canyon gas facility

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Hundreds of protesters and Porter Ranch residents packed the gymnasium of Granada Hills Charter High School requesting the closure of the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility Saturday morning. (KABC)

Hundreds of protesters and Porter Ranch residents packed the gymnasium of Granada Hills Charter High School requesting the closure of the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility Saturday morning.

The group attended a meeting at the school held by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, in which a panel listened to residents' concerns over the massive gas leak that started at the facility in late October.

The natural gas leak has become the largest leak in U.S. history and is the worst environmental disaster in the country since the 2010 BP oil spill. The leak is gushing 1,200 tons of methane daily, along with other gases.

MORE: Video shows toxic gas plume releasing in Porter Ranch, experts say

It has caused many residents to become ill from the smell. The Southern California Gas Company has relocated 2,800 households and is searching for homes for another 1,700 residents.

The air quality district will also consider an abatement order that would require SoCal Gas to capture and dispose of the leaking gas.

The utility announced plans to begin installing equipment that captures and burns the gas, but it was not clear when the installation would begin. SoCal Gas is also in the process of digging relief wells for the leak, but it is not expected to be completed until February or March.

MORE: SoCal Gas may take months to fix natural gas leak

Residents at the hearing said they are only asking for one thing.

"Shut it down. That's our message is shut it down. Shut it down forever. We live in the 21st Century. We have the imagination, we have the technology to move beyond this type of energy source that is quite frankly a dinosaur technology," said Mark Morris, vice president of the group "Save Porter Ranch."

If the order is approved by the district, SoCal Gas would be required to continuously monitor the well with an infrared camera, stop the injection of gas into the well, withdraw as much gas as possible from the well and disclose all of that data.

On Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the Porter Ranch community after meeting with some residents and touring the leak site.

The hearing is expect to stretch out for a few days as residents and local leaders voice their concerns.

The next scheduled hearing is expected to take place on Saturday.

Related Topics:
gas leakenvironmentgas fumesPorter RanchLos AngelesLos Angeles County
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