Erin Brockovich: Porter Ranch Gas Leak Is ‘the BP Oil Spill on Land’
Erin Brockovich has once again spoken out about against the Porter Ranch gas leak. Since the environmental calamity was first detected on Oct. 23, the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility has spewed more than 93,000 metric tons of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.
“The Porter Ranch situation is the BP oil spill on land,” Brockovich told Rolling Stone, referring to the 2010 explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig that caused the largest ever oil spill in U.S. waters.
Brockovich made her name 20 years ago when she, as a legal clerk, helped the town of Hinkley, California score a historic $333 million settlement from Pacific Gas and Electric Company over groundwater contamination. Her story became the subject and namesake of a 2000 movie starring Julia Roberts—Erin Brockovich.
Brockovich, who lives 30 minutes from Porter Ranch, told the magazine that she felt “woozy” from the emissions herself as she and her legal team interviewed prospective plaintiffs. An odorant in the leak has spurred countless complaints about headaches, nausea, nosebleeds and other symptoms.
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), which operates and maintains the Aliso Canyon facility, has assisted the relocation of more than 4,000 Porter Ranch residents as the company tries to stop the leak.
“We’re all taught in Kindergarten, if you smell gas, you run, right? But [residents] were being told it can’t hurt you,” Brockovich said. “People are frustrated … You have families coming from big homes, and they’re being put in one-room hotels. People are coming home finding out that their animals have passed.”
In her interview with Rolling Stone, Brockovich emphasized that nearby neighborhoods have also felt the effects of the noxious blowout.
“There’s communities like Chatsworth, there’s communities like Northridge, there’s communities like Granada Hills, and a lot of them are writing to me” saying they’ve felt the effects of the leak, she said. “So the magnitude of how far this gas plume has gone is probably going to be bigger than many of us imagined.”
— Erin Brockovich (@ErinBrockovich) February 3, 2016
In a December blog post, Brockovich called the leak “one of the most significant environmental disasters in recent history.”