Acosta requests $2 million for Aliso Canyon study

Expectant Porter Ranch mother and realtor Danielle Rabadi speaks to members of the press outside the Santa Clarita Courthouse following a Tuesday morning court hearing. Austin Dave/The Signal

Over a year has passed and there has yet to be a health study conducted for the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak, so Assemblyman Dante Acosta is trying to speed up the process.

According to an announcement from Acosta’s office on Tuesday, the assemblyman put in a request to the budget committee to triple the money already designated to conduct the study in Porter Ranch.

Acosta’s proposal does not require new spending, but the reallocation of $2 million in already existing funds from the Air Pollution Control Fund. Currently, the South Coast Air Quality Management District has settled on $1 million in funding for the study with SoCalGas, which would not be enough to conduct the study on its own, according to the announcement.

Porter Ranch resident Maureen Capra speaks to members of the press after a court hearing in Santa Clarita in November. Austin Dave/The Signal

“$2 million was a number that in conversations with my colleagues in the assembly seemed like it is a possible amount to have approved in the budget process,” Acosta said in a statement to The Signal. “We know that this study will take significant time and expense, so this is more of a first step, but it is important to make sure the Air Quality Management District has the resources it needs to start this study right away.”

According to Acosta, this is a matter of public safety, which includes community health in regard to clean air and safe drinking water.

“My number one priority is the safety and wellbeing of my community,” Acosta said in the announcement. “The people of Porter Ranch have a right to an extensive health study and my budget request for critical funding reflects that.”

It is important for residents of the district to know what the long term effects of the gas leak are, particularly in Porter Ranch, said Acosta. The assemblyman said the study is needed to provide residents with security and answers to their questions.

Acosta said the study will take time, but he encourages the South Coast Air Quality Management District to be transparent and prompt in keeping residents up to date in regard to the study’s costs and timelines.

The duration of the study has not yet been provided to Acosta’s office by the Air Quality Management District.

In alignment with Senator Henry Stern’s Senate Bill 57, the facility will not reopen until the analysis is complete. This will help determine why the leak happened and make officials aware in case similar occurrences were to happen in the district, such as in the Honor Rancho Oil Field in Santa Clarita, Acosta’s office said.

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