LOS ANGELES, March 3 (UPI) -- After stemming a major methane gas leak, Southern California Gas Co. said the air was clear for residents despite a judge ruling against relocation.
The company, known as SoCalGas, said the California Court of Appeal denied its effort to allow residents in the area's Porter Range community an extra three weeks to relocate back to homes vacated as a result of the Aliso Canyon methane leak. As a result, relocated residents will have the extra time to live elsewhere at the company's expense.
SoCalGas said in a statement it was frustrated, but compliant, noting some residents have already returned home and were returning to life as normal.
"Extensive and continued testing and analysis by health and air quality experts, including the county, show the air in the community is safe and has returned to normal," the company said.
California regulators and the Southern California Gas Co. said a faulty well at the Aliso Canyon storage facility was permanently sealed with cement and taken out of service in mid-February. The site near Los Angeles had been leaking since late October.
A brochure distributed by Los Angeles County said residents could safely return home after the leak was stopped. Some residents may see an oil residue on exposed consumables and surfaces in their home that should be avoided, the county said.
Methane is a non-toxic greenhouse gas that's more potent than carbon dioxide.