Doctors Urge California Residents "Leave Now...While You Can" As Gas Leak Fears Grow

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Claire Bernish via,

California Governor Jerry Brown finally declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, concerning the ongoing, currently unstoppable methane gas leak spewing from Aliso Canyon that has created a nightmare for residents of Porter Ranch.

“I will tell you, this goes well beyond Porter Ranch. We’ve had complaints from as far as Chatsworth, Northridge, and Granada Hills,” emphasized Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander during a Porter Ranch town hall meeting on December 28. “Apparently this plume of toxic chemicals and whatever it might be, doesn’t know zip codes […] This is the equivalent of the BP oil spill on land, in a populated community.

Aliso Canyon sits less than two and a half miles from Porter Ranch and less than 30 miles from the city of Los Angeles — the second most populous city in the United States — whose outlying total statistical area includes nearly 18 million residents, as of 2013.

Brown has been widely criticized for lack of decisive action on the leak, which is erupting from its underground storage area with all the force “of a volcano.” Under Wednesday’s declaration, “all state agencies will utilize state personnel, equipment, and facilities to ensure a continuous and thorough state response to this incident.”

Porter Ranch residents have been evacuating the area for some time, though SoCalGas’ rather maladroit handling of the relocation procedure has been a nightmare — and the cause for a mounting number of lawsuits, including one from the L.A. city attorney’s office.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a civil lawsuit last month concerning the massive methane leak’s impact on area residents’ health and damage to the environment — which alleged failure by SoCalGas to prevent the leak and further exacerbation of “the effects of that failure by allowing acute odor and health problems faced by the community to persist for more than a month, to say nothing about the indefinite time it will persist into the future.”

Pediatrician Dr. Richard Kang gave an ominous warning during the Porter Ranch meeting, saying, “Unfortunately, the only real way to get away from the symptoms is… you have to relocate — you have to get away from the environment.” Health complaints include severe headaches, nosebleeds, respiratory issues including increasing cases of asthma, and a number of other issues.

SoCalGas, in the meantime, stated they were “providing air filters for people’s homes,” but though “the odor added to the leaking gas can cause symptoms for some, the gas is not toxic and county health officials have said the leak does not pose a long-term health risk.

But, as the Los Angeles Daily News reported on December 25, Los Angeles County health officials said prolonged exposure to trace chemicals, some of which are known carcinogens, can cause long-term health effects.” Nevertheless, they also “cautioned that levels examined so far here are not believed to be associated with long-term health problems.”

“The gas company says, ‘This is just the smell you’re reacting to, it’s just temporary, it’s not a problem, it’s not serious’ — these people aren’t stupid,” said attorney Rex Paris. “How could somebody possibly say that? We have children whose noses are bleeding every day, we have people who suffer from chronic headaches [and] are nauseous every, single day. How does that not become a serious issue? Why are they saying something nobody here believes? […] They’re trying to convince everybody that it’s all in our heads. It’s a trick.”

In fact, as Erin Brockovich pointed out, “no one really knows the long-term side effects of benzene and radon, the carcinogens that are commonly found in natural gas.”

Additionally, area house pets seem particularly vulnerable — possibly acting the part of unwitting canaries — as veterinarian Dr. David Smith described in the town hall meeting. Noting he has seen dozens of sickened animals, Smith said, “I’ve seen dogs, cats, birds, pocket pets… the primary symptoms I’ve seen are gastrointestinal vomiting […]These are not things you should be inhaling. He added, “We have seen dermatological issues as well, some very unusual bacterial infections in dogs,” including one case in which a dog had such an infection on its face, and “the client developed almost the exact same kind of symptoms soon after that […] their physician thinks it’s related [to exposure from the gas leak] and so I tend to think these correlations are real.”

Though the declaration of emergency states “the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources shall continue its prohibition against Southern California Gas Company injecting any gas into the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility,” it does not make that moratorium dependent on stoppage of the leak; rather, only “until a comprehensive review, utilizing independent experts […] is completed.”

Physician Dr. Brooks Michaels, addressing the town hall meeting, gave the sternest advice to those still in the area surrounding the unprecedented leak:

“If you have a chance to leave, if you’re able to leave… if you have a chance to relocate, do it now. I’m telling you, it’s really critical.”

Understandably, Brown’s state of emergency seems almost too little, too late for many.

You can watch the Porter Ranch town hall meeting here:

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MFL8240's picture

Another man made disater!

t_kAyk's picture

Will obummer cry over this?? 


On a personal note, when I see what we are doing to this planet I could care less if humanity survives, I cry for the species we've dragged to hell with us 

thesonandheir's picture

Is it a concentrated leak i.e. coming out of one section of ground/pipe?


If it is then they should really be burning it off (flaring).

red red wine's picture

Corporate America are the real planet's terrorists.

KesselRunin12Parsecs's picture
KesselRunin12Parsecs (not verified) red red wine Jan 8, 2016 9:29 AM

Don't worry folks! The radiation from Fukushima will be along any minute now to 'neutralize' this disaster.

DownWithYogaPants's picture

Glo-bull warming is a scam, hoax and a huge governmental power grab in the name of the Ruling Class Oligarchy.  Please ignore the "climate pollutant" spin on this article.

It's a disaster only because it's such a waste of such a useful commodity.

12357111317's picture

If human overpopulation doesn't kill the Planet with global warming, human overpopulation will kill the Planet with Fukushima's. BP's, California gas lines, and slash-and-burn agriculture.  Arithmetic.

Dental Floss Tycoon's picture

Set fire to it.  The CO2 polution would be less than the methane.

847328_3527's picture

"Honey, what was that clause in our Homeowner's Insurance Policy about 'methane leak explosions'"?

Bay of Pigs's picture

Judging from this headline you would think Flakmeister is now writing the natural disaster headlines here at ZH.

Pinto Currency's picture



The US alone releases 650 million tonnes of methane annually.

0.08 million tonnes have been released in California.





glenlloyd's picture

I wonder how toxic this is compared to VW?

Xibalba's picture

Wouldn't have ever been a prob if Reagan didn't shill for Detroit.  Being that it's right off the freeway in his name, I find that ironic

underman's picture

Result:  migrant crisis in the Pacific NW.

Liberal's picture

Relax you stupid ZH-reading Domestic Extremists.

This is just our government waging a covert payback to Japan for Fukushima. Eventually, all this gas will make its way across the ocean and land in Japan.


CuttingEdge's picture

But, but, but...Fracking is SAFE!!!

Mr CaMoron says so!

/Sighs. It will probably take this thing to blow Cal sky high before the MSM over the pond take note.

still kicking's picture

it is a storage leak, that gas doesn't retain a "fracked" feature after it has been produced and shipped to storage.

zeronetwork's picture

little while ago some one was worried that we have too many cows breathing out methane and causing global warming. Does any one know their phone number? I like to make a phone call.

MeetTozter's picture

I bet this "crisis" would be solved a lot quicker if all the Officers of SoCalGas were quarantined at the site until the leak was sealed.

Keyser's picture

If it is then they should really be burning it off (flaring).

That is far to logical and cost effective... First, the EPA needs a 5 year study on the effects of flaring on the freshwater smelt which is on the endangered species list, at a cost of $12 billion... 

USisCorrupt's picture

Fear NOT, climate change is HIGH on Obama's list and he will surely take care of this in short order.


We are just so Lucky to have him as President. His half Brother is doing well now since he has is hands in the ISIS/Turkey Oil sales.


We are truly Blessed.

philipat's picture

Of course, unlike the Gulf issue with BP, this time it is a giant US Corporation involved so there will be no multi-billion compensation involved...but US Politicians will receive generous "campaign contributions"?

401K of Dooom's picture

Uhhh, why are you on this website?  Go away before I fart in your direction!.

HenryHall's picture

They say it's too big to set fire to it and flare it off.

If they did that (and it may happen by accident anyway) then they might never be able to repair it.  The largest natural gas storage facility in the USA would be 100% loss.

BadLibertarian's picture

I keep wondering how long it will take for one of those 'fighting age males' we keep hearing about crossing the southern border to decide they could walk up to that thing with a zippo and do massive damage.

Or strap a zippo to a quadcopter, etc.

Parrotile's picture

Any RC aircraft would do. A Zippo won't work, but one of those cheap Chinese LPG blowtorches much loved by cooks (for putting the finishing touches on Creme Brulee) would meet the need nicely, with a run time (on one butane fill ) of over 10 minutes. Electric flight would be very quiet (effectively silent) and a sky blue colourscheme would add to the covert potential.

So, a cheap 3 or 4-channel "foamie" with a small kitchen blowtorch set on low flame would do the job very reliably, and economically (seeing as the delivery system will NOT be recoverable! :-)  )

Just wonder how long it'll be before some mischievious / adventurous individual or group decide to "see what might happen", and probably qualify for a Group Darwin Award in the process!

Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

You need to register that drone with the FAA first, then click around on Facebook and "like" some ISIS stuff. I think a good "terrorism" angle will save the day on the burn-off coverup. Just think of the deferred liability - "It was ISIS related, not us!" cry from the CORP. 

still kicking's picture

I have a few nat gas holdings that would benefit greatly from that.

Son of Loki's picture

Dear Valued Homeowner,

Thank you for contacting us regarding insurance coverage under your homeowners policy concerning the recent methane leaks and Fuki radiation.

Please refer to the following portion of our contract:

"Homeowners Exclusion Clause: Theretofore, herewith, without exception and unless stated otherwise, California United American Mutual Ins Company excludes coverage for any damage to your house caused by anything."

I thank you for being a loyal customer for the past 30 years and hope you continue to pay those fat premiums for comprehansive, non-coverage of your home. We appreciate your business.


Warm Regards,

Fuqu Tu

Senior Insurance Claims Agent

Socratic Dog's picture

I particulary like "mandatory" insurance.  Auto, home-loan, of the free.

mkkby's picture

Burn it. 

Maybe the explosion will finally split the san andreas, and the komunist state of kalifornia will fall into the ocean once and for all.  Never met a kali person who wasn't a complete douche bag, so I just hope they won't poison the fish.

MalteseFalcon's picture


A nook kook I know informs me that no one has ever died from a methane leak, so it's perfectly safe.

Just an overreaction, folks.

Low level methane is good for you.

This isn't the really safe methane.  The government keeps preventing the gas company from using the really safe methane that scientists have developed.

If you couldn't heat your home, you'd really miss that methane.

Methane is necessary to fight climate change.

No worries about losing the methane.  It's too cheap to meter.


HamSandwich's picture

You're trying to be reasonable on a site full of doom & gloom specialists who think are experts on nuclear radiation health, reactor design, climate science, biological sciences, etc. I pretend they are all just trolling so I can get through the day with some hope for humanity.

Protip: Don't try to explain thing like conductivity chromatography, decay-chain nuclear chemistry, or any sort of variance in natural processes and/or unaccounted for variables.

They'll burn you at the stake.

Miles Ahead's picture

No worries HamBone.  Humanity is in good hands with academic geniuses like you to keep track of all the conductivity chromatography, decay-chain nuclear chemistry, or any sort of variance in natural processes and/or unaccounted for variables for the rest of us unwashed masses.

Too bad you haven't yet figured out that processed meat - especially fucking ham - is one of the dumbest things any human - scientific genius or otherwise - could ever do to him or herself.  Hope you make it through another day considering that alone!

Also I would have used "unaccounted-for" rather than settle for your usage choice.  Your preposition gets lost and can lead to confusion and wrong parses

Oh well, nobody's perfect. Long life sir.

Clashfan's picture

He also probably means who think they are instead of "who think are." Genius. We should all heed his superb wisdom. He has after all likely figured out how to get paid for this.

HamSandwich's picture

I don't eat ham or any pork products. Also, ad-homonym attacks do not satisfy an argument. Not an academic; I have a real job. Work on calibration - you're way off. Here's an example of a formula not to use: "He/She has stated that they may be for/against 'x', so therefor it follows that...". The spectrum is wide; enjoy the ride. People type on cell phones; get over it.

dogfish's picture

How much methane comes out of DC,we should flame of DC.

HowdyDoody's picture

That's not methane. It is H2S which is highly toxic in even moderate concentrations.

Blankenstein's picture

If it is, Flak has face tattoos  


the author:


cornflakesdisease's picture

I believe it's in the sub-section about farts.

Never One Roach's picture

Well, at least they have Obamacare health non-coverage for their methane gas poisoning.

KesselRunin12Parsecs's picture
KesselRunin12Parsecs (not verified) Never One Roach Jan 8, 2016 10:00 AM

"Who farted?"


Thou who smelt it dealt it.

DeadFred's picture

Just for the sake of comparison the total greenhouse effect from this leak is rougly equal to four months of the oil ISIS is selling on the black market.

dfwpike's picture

I would urge all California residents to leave now while you can.  And it's not because of the gas leak.

Rabbi Chaim Cohen's picture

Anyone who cares to see and understand the real reasons to get out of Cali have already left.

August's picture

The only sensible reason to be in LA is to change planes.