Media Silent As Mystery Illness Plagues Residents One Year After Historic US Gas Leak

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Carey Wedler via,

A year after the largest methane leak in U.S. history was sealed in Porter Ranch, California, residents are continuing to experience significant adverse health consequences. As SoCalGas - the company responsible for the blowout - uses fabricated gas shortages to justify reopening the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility, which has been shut down indefinitely since the leak occurred, a local doctor is now speaking out.

Dr. Jeffrey Nordella has been treating Porter Ranch residents since the blowout of an underground methane storage well caused tons of methane gas to spewing the atmosphere in October 2015. A total of 5 billion cubic feet of methane was released into the atmosphere from October 23 to February 18, “or enough pollution to match the annual output of nearly 600,000 cars,The Guardian noted shortly after it was sealed.

Though the leak was sealed last February, residents have continued to complain of symptoms. Though some local news outlets have provided consistent coverage of the disaster’s aftermath, most national outlets stopped covering the story after the blown-out well was closed and, consequently, the immediate drama of the story subsided.

But Nordella says that since the gas leak began, he has been inundated with patients of all ages.

Those symptoms were broad but yet had a common denominator. Eye and nasal irritation, headache, nosebleed, sore throat, loss of voice, cough, shortness of breath, palpitations, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and skin rashes were among the most common,” he said during a press conference at his urgent care facility last Wednesday.

According to the local Daily News:

He’s seeing abnormal pulmonary functions among some of those patients, and low red blood cell counts in others. He’s reviewed the files of residents whose family members died and said he’s seen a rare case of anemia that can be connected to toxic exposure.”

Nordella says the symptoms he’s seen in patients are “clearly different from those with a common upper respiratory tract infection, seasonal allergies, sinus infections, and viral bronchitis.” He also said multiple contaminants could be causing the variety of health issues.

According to Nordella, patients who evacuated Porter Ranch experienced relief from their symptoms only to endure them again upon moving back into their homes. He also said one family, who moved away permanently, experienced continued skin rashes when they came into contact with belongings from their Porter Ranch home. He believes this indicates contaminants from the blowout may still be coating the interiors of residencies in the area.

Porter Ranch locals have feared the effects not only of methane, but also mercaptans — odorants added to natural gas to alert those nearby to its presence — and benzene, a carcinogenic substance found in the atmosphere during the leak (officials have asserted that though benzene levels were elevated during the leak, they were similar to what the rest of the city of Los Angeles is normally exposed to). Other substances released included toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes, which are known to cause a range of symptoms.

Residents have referred to the decades-old facility as a “dinosaur,” and many in the area have continued to smell mercaptans in the air as they experience ongoing symptoms  — over a year after the leak was sealed.

Because of these factors and the gas company’s ongoing attempts to re-open Aliso Canyon, Nordella felt compelled to speak out. As he told Anti-Media:

I will admit… that it was a little bit concerning that they were moving at such a rapid pace, wanting to re-pressurize these rock beds, so I figured that we would move forward prior to that.”

During his press conference, he clarified that he has not been contacted by “anyone from the gas company or Sempra,” has “not been retained by any law firm,” and has had “no communications with politicians.” He is also not affiliated with Save Porter Ranch, the community activist group created out of safety concerns before the massive leak even occurred. That group is fighting for a total shutdown of the facility.

Nordella initiated a health screening for patients presenting symptoms, and though he admits his sample size is small — about 50 patients — he is calling for independent research into the effects of the leak, saying he cares about “the people, the patients, and the science.

I will not deviate from the people. We all know about the potential politics here. I want to make sure that this is neutral, clean, and it’s done properly,” he said, suggesting a study be conducted by researchers outside of California to achieve these goals.

Some California lawmakers are working to pass S.B. 57 within the state, which would shut down the facilityuntil [a] comprehensive review of the safety of the gas storage wells at the facility is completed” and the cause of the blowout can be determined. But politics-as-usual has riddled efforts to mitigate the effects of the catastrophe, which could be seen from space at its peak. Governor Jerry Brown, who often claims to champion environmental issues, waited two-and-a-half months to declare a state of emergency over the blowout, which forced thousands of evacuations and doubled Los Angeles’ greenhouse gas emissions by releasing nearly 100,000 metric tons of methane. His sister sits on the board of directors for SoCalGas’ parent company, Sempra Energy.

The Southern California Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has also been accused of failing to sufficiently serve Porter Ranch residents. The agency recently settled a lawsuit filed by state regulators over its handling of the gas leak. In that agreement, they agreed to pay $1 million for a health study to determine the effects.

But residents are dissatisfied with that outcome. “What should have been a $40 million long-term health study is only a $1 million health risk assessment,” asserts Save Porter Ranch.

“It’s a study, but not a health study,” said Angelo Bellomo, the Los Angeles County deputy director for health protection at the Department of Public Health. “It is not responsive to addressing the health needs and concerns to this community. More importantly, it’s inconsistent with advice given to AQMD by health officials.”

The Department of Public Health (DPH) has disappointed residents over its lack of attentiveness and apparent incompetence throughout the ordeal. As Nordella said:

“I anticipated our politicians, Department of Public Health, and community leaders would act and recruit the appropriate parties to investigate so that the short- and long-term health effects could be revealed, but to no avail. Instead, what I received from DPH was, in my opinion, misguided information.”

Even DPH has acknowledged the study SCAQMD is funding was supposed to have cost up to $40 million, admitting its limitations.

Nordella says he has managed to schedule a meeting with DPH and has informed them the community’s trust in authorities is waning.

He has vowed to remain independent as he continues to advocate for patients.

In the meantime, SoCalGas is still fighting to reopen the facility, going so far as faking a gas shortage ahead of a public hearing on Aliso Canyon’s status. As a result, they withdrew gas from the facility for the first time since January 2016. The company has been caught deceiving residents and regulators on multiple occasions, including denying the blowout when concerned citizens called their hotline in the early days of the crisis.

For now, those seeking to keep the facility closed are gaining ground. S.B. 57 was approved late last week by the state’s Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, and according to Save Porter Ranch, Democrats now officially support it.

As Nordella said during his press conference:

Until a study is completed … it is nothing short of an act of negligence to reopen the Aliso Canyon facility. The people of the community deserve better. I’m extremely concerned that I’ve just scratched the surface and that there are other significant medical cases within the community.”

In contrast, SoCalGas claims “There is no dependency on or need to wait for the results of the Root Cause Analysis. SoCalGas has demonstrated that the field is safe to resume injection operations,” according to its website.

Nordella, however, is adamantly opposed to reopening Aliso Canyon because of the health risks it poses.

As a doctor, my interest is very high on making sure that this did not make the residents of the community sick,” he told Anti-Media. “If it did, they should shut it all down and abort these fields. They should not move forward — should not move forward — and repressurize this system until we find out the health effects of the first blowout.”

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besnook's picture

see how dangerous cow farts are? and you thought moon beam was crazy for capping cow farts.


Meh - lucky bastards - coulda been down wind of Fukushima. 

Government and Industry don't give a fuck world wide what happens to people.

That - is a problem requiring a solution.  

The Jaguar's picture

“Those symptoms were broad but yet had a common denominator. Eye and nasal irritation, headache, nosebleed, sore throat, loss of voice, cough, shortness of breath, palpitations, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and skin rashes were among the most common,” he said during a press conference"

Sounds like liberal Trump Meltdown symptoms.

TheReplacement's picture

This is a YUUUUUUUUUGE opportunity for OJ.  He needs to declare it a Federal Disaster and take over, solve or abrogate the problems, and expose both the incompetent authorities (Town - name them and their party;  County - name them and their party;  State -name them and their party;  Federal - name them and their party) as well as the formerly compliant main stream news media. 

He can take the offense right in their heartland of California and further destroy any lingering doubts in the minds of the people who are still convincible. 

mind reset's picture
mind reset (not verified) TheReplacement Feb 17, 2017 6:06 AM

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do...

techpriest's picture

Pollution is bad, unless it's politically expedient.

IIRC one of Moonbeam's siblings/relatives is on the board of that gas company. I wonder how much "free health care" Moonbeam is willing to give them.

shivura's picture

down with the epa!! public health is not my concern!

Loki Libertarian's picture

Speaking of moon beam his family has a major stake in the company storing the gas. Good reason for media silence. 

grizfish's picture

Roger that Loki.  Moonbeam Brown (Gov of Californicate) has a sister on the board of directors of the parent company who mismanaged maintenance of the storage facility.  They are among the hierarchy of the libertards running this rogue state.  During their closed door meetings they are kissing Trump's ass to get a $Billion for repairs on the recently destroyed dam spillway they refused to fund required repairs during the past decade.  In public they continue to talk about him as "not their president."  Typical worthless blood sucking hypocritical liberals.  Pelosi and Feinstein use their political clout in DC to rip off all US taxpayers, not just those in CA.

Wile-E-Coyote's picture

Has anyone run a Geiger counter over these people?

junction's picture

California is doomed!

AtATrESICI's picture

Replacement illegals will make everything great again.

LetThemEatRand's picture

I am old enough to remember when the "liberal" media was actually liberal, and would have covered this to the endless irritation of large corporations and the government.  

Burnbright's picture

Yeah I think that stopped around the 90s when the last vestiges of independent news were bought buy said interests.

NoPension's picture

I doubt even a plane crash could redirect CNN from Trump bashing.

Idaho potato head's picture

Now it seems they are just the arm of the PTB that wants to eliminatr as many useless eaters as possible. third world status coming, oh wait here.

grizfish's picture

You must be much older than 70, because I remember when Moon Beam was Gov in the late 70s and stopped construction of a key freeway after it was 90% complete.  He instituted environmental impact requirements in the meantime, resulting in the remaining 10% freeway completion costing the taxpayers more than the original 90%.  Meanwhile we were forced to use surface streets to commute to work for the ensuing 8 years.  He had ties with the construction and environmental impact companies that the liberal press totally disregarded reporting about.  Now we have him screwing the tax paying public again while pouring billions into welfare for illegals.  But that is how they operate.  Illegals are their primary voter base, along with the holliweirds.

Mena Arkansas's picture

Watch Erin Brockovich if you want to see how this works.

ghengis86's picture

Yeah, the wife with cancer and the helpless, desperate husband really hits home. Fascism - the intersection of government and corporations - is the problem these days. Working hand in hand to fuck us over. Your lives are meaningless.

Burnbright's picture

So radiation on the coast and toxic air in the south...yup.

NumberNone's picture

Message to Porter Ranch you are doing it wrong. No one cares about US citizens. Please find any illegal immigrants (even if you have to ship them in) that are suffering at the hands of this evil US company. And make them your poster children. Then you will get the attention and aid you want.

Mr. Schmilkies's picture

Wow such a progressive state.  Liberal governor looks the other way when money is involved. 

Misean's picture

Jerry's sister sits on Sempra's board of directors.

techpriest's picture

Ah, I remember there was a connection, just forgot the details.

Boxed Merlot's picture

...Jerry's sister...


yeah, "fat Pat" made sure his family was taken care of, Brown trusts are nearly as infamous as Pelosi / Feinstein fundraising accounts.

Louisiana's Huey Long was a piker compared to CA's list of acheivers.



NoDebt's picture

We're just toughening up the gene pool so future humans can tolerate high levels of all kinds of pollution.  

Meanwhile, Al Gore still says CO2 is the bogeyman coming to get us all- please pay no attention to all the chemical and radioactive poisons spewing out here and there all around the globe.  No sir, it's not any of those things.  It's good old CO2, which has been around since life itself sprang forth on our planet, that's the real problem.  If we get that under control you can certainly deal with a mild over-abundance of methane, butylene and tolulene in your air.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go fire up a smoke while I roll around in a bathtub full of mercury and tune up an old engine in an enclosed garage.  

Ms No's picture

There was a kid that died after cleaning out a frack tank.  He swelled up and his throat was bleeding.  He kept putting paper towels down his throat and bringing up blood.  They said he died of asthma.  Al Jazeera did a piece on this and a few other incidents.  I know that isn't everybodies favorite source but I know for a fact that everything they said about that case was true.  The video wasn't viewable in the US for a long time.  It's back all of the sudden.

I know of a whole lot of weird stuff that happened to people that monitored freshly drilled wells, one whole crew worth.  There were also some extremely rare cancers that hit a few kids when I was leaving.  I really wonder what we will see with that someday.  Maybe it will be bad, maybe it wont.  There was a shit ton of H2S out there though.  We still don't know for sure entirely what was in the fracking juice.

I also refused to believe that people's water was catching fire until right before I left and somebody showed it to me.  It happens.  There was also one individual claiming all their cattle were getting sick but I'm not sure if they were able to prove it.

A couple people told me in the early days they were experimenting with some component of jet fuel for fracking but I can't verify that.  It seems like that would be too dangerous but it was pretty good sources.  When they mentioned it everybody nodded their head in agreement, so I wonder.

Golden Phoenix's picture

Apparently it causes brain damage as well.

Anteater's picture

I did a refinery job inspecting their oily water waste sewers and oily water separator facilty for EPA conformance. Keep in mind the State allows them to legally discharge this skimmed waste water into the ocean and 'air farm' the skimmed oils into the air by spraying it on the ground inside the refinery!!! No lie! It's unbelievable!

Anyway, we had a 4-man crew going down into the oily-water sewers without chemical respirators, thank you very much, and no OSHA safety inspection, nothing. I was recording data just outside the manholes. God it stunk. All three guys on the crew were dead of cancer within a year. I had major bleeding polyps, bizarre for a young guy, but got surgery.

We discussed litigation with several legal firms, the widows and I. They said I had no claim because I survived. Nobody would touch the lawsuit. Remember the refinery is legally allowed to dump this shit into the water and the air, but the State will come down on your ass for using a wood stove or putting fertilizer on your lawn!!

One day a dweeb from the air pollution control authority banged on my door to complain about the wood smoke and gavr me a pink slip. I resisted strangling him, but he didn't get to leave until I told him the refinery story, then I tore his pink slip to pieces.

Who the f*ck are these people!? The other day I appkied for an environmental job, it turns out to be in charge of making sure everyone picks up their dog poop! That was the job!! $72,000 a year, to force people to pick up their dog poop, while the refineries keep dumping their oily wastewater, without any chemical treatment, into the ocean to where shellfish are uneatable, black and stinking like sulfur inside! Nobody has caught a fish on that beach since 1970.


CCanuck's picture

You better be using leaded fuel in that engine.

NoDebt's picture

Of course.  I wouldn't want to risk exhaust valve recession. 

CCanuck's picture

Attaa boy, I always knew you're on the ball.


jmack's picture

good thing California has all that government and regulations to protect their citizens, it would be really bad in a state like Texas...

Stan522's picture

If it doesn't knock republican's Trump, conservatives, or Right Wing... The media does not give it legs....

loveyajimbo's picture

I guess Governor Moonbeam is still more concerned with protecting illegals, "sanctuary" cities and the importation of un-vetted muslim animals...

Ms No's picture

This dam issue could very easily take out Brown and Moonbeam even if it doesn't break, and hope to God it doesn't.

Just imagine everybody there wondering for the next three months or two years, day in and day out, if their children are going to be okay.  Is their property going to be okay.  Day in and day out...  While they have no money for necessities they are a sanctuary state?  I think we might finally see a dent in their armor over there.  If it breaks they will hang those bastards.

Misean's picture

FYI, Brown IS Moonbeam. Moonbeam is from the 70's when he was govenor after Reagan I believe. Moonbeam spent most of his time partying and boning Linda Ronstaddt and his Lt. Gov a Repug pretty much ran things whic is why Prop 13. made it.

Ms No's picture

Oh damn.  All this time I thought Pelosi was Moonbeam.  lol 


One cheesy GP with a sample size of n=50, against State Regulators, SoCalGas, and shareholders.


The Federal Government should conduct the study, but it won't.


Smelly Californication should be aborted.

buzzsaw99's picture

natural gas will make you sicker than a fucking dog. classic symptoms. hives, respiratory problems, they can expect hair loss too. the methyl mercaptans stink but that is just a warning smell they add to nasty natty. it is the odorless gas that sickens or kills you. leftover VOCs can get into the ground and release slowly, trapped in walls, clothes, etc.. i don't believe the leaks have stopped completely either. 85 well heads and none of them leak now? bull fucking shit. radon, don't get me started on the radon. that shit kills slowly.

GooseShtepping Moron's picture

Actually, mercaptans (thiols) and hydrogen sulfides are pretty darn noxious themselves, too.

moorewasthebestbond's picture

Sulfides. The "joke" fart smell sold in the 1970s that was strong enough to clear a building..

Ms No's picture

I got hives as a result of being at a refinery once, or I think I did.  They were having an H2S problem at the time I found out later.  It was around for months.  Either that or I caught whole body scabies in the cheap-ass hotel I was staying in.  Meh...

Saddam Miser's picture

Why haven't the msm covered news stories like this? Easy - clearly it's not as provocative as Trump's golden showers or Pewdiepie's ju-hatred.

A_Huxley's picture

Find an expert who works with industrial issues.

buzzsaw99's picture

find anyone who has ever had a gas leak in their house.

booboo's picture

you mean any pieces of them?

buzzsaw99's picture

that ain't no lie. there's always some joker in a trailer somewhere out in the sticks thinking he's real smart getting free natty straight off the well head. problem is that shit is under high pressure and doesn't stink. sometime later, boom, smithereens.