The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health this week released requests for proposals to seek researchers to conduct a health study on the long-and short-term health impacts of the 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak.
The study will be conducted by independent third-party researchers, under the guidance of the Scientific Oversight Committee, which consists of experts from six regulatory agencies and seven independent research experts.
Once chosen, the researchers will provide regular updates to and receive guidance from the committee until the completion of the study. The goal is to begin the study in the fall.
“We look forward to engaging some of the best and brightest researchers in the nation in this process,” said Dr. Paul Simon, the department’s chief science officer. “We are committed to selecting an independent research group with the broad but also highly specialized expertise needed to shed further light on the health impacts of this catastrophic environmental disaster.”
The leak occurred at the Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon gas storage facility located in the Santa Susana Mountains near Porter Ranch. More than 109,000 metric tons of methane gas was released into residential communities surrounding the facility for 111 days, and thousands of residents were displaced due to health concerns.
The study will be funded by $25 million from a consent decree with SoCalGas.
“We’ve reached a significant milestone in the aftermath of the Alison Canyon gas leak,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “I’m committed to bringing forward objective information from experts that will shed light on the gas blowout’s impact to the community that was affected by it.
“After any disaster, we must commit ourselves to rolling up our sleeves to ensure individuals who need help get help — not just immediately afterwards, but also in the long run. Recruiting qualified researchers to perform this analysis is critical because their findings will inform what needs to be done to help the community at large.”