POLITICS/ENVIRONMENT: Oil-drilling sites, neighborhood health impacts?: Editorial, "All oil-drilling neighbors deserve the same treatment as Porter Ranch victims" ....
* Los Angeles Times (editorial): "All oil-drilling neighbors deserve the same treatment as Porter Ranch victims" - From the LAT:
When the four-month-long leak from the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field was finally plugged in February, Los Angeles County health officials expected that Porter Ranch residents would no longer suffer from the nausea, headaches, nosebleeds and skin rashes that had forced thousands of people from their homes. But weeks after the gas stopped flowing and the odor diminished, residents were still experiencing symptoms.
County health officials commissioned tests of 101 houses in Porter Ranch and 11 outside the Porter Ranch area. The standard air quality sampling found nothing out of the ordinary. But tests of dust in houses near Aliso Canyon found metal contaminants consistent with those found in the well-drilling fluid that was used in attempts to plug the leaking well at the Aliso Canyon facility.
Even though the contaminants, which included barium, manganese, vanadium, aluminum and iron, were found in low levels, they could still be causing short-term problems, according to a county health analysis. For example, barium can cause eye, nose, throat and skin irritation – the very symptoms that many Porter Ranch residents have been complaining of. Health officials believe the chemicals used to try to stop the leak were spewed into the air and settled as dust in surrounding homes, and that their lingering presence is making people sick.
Last week, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered Southern California Gas Co., which owns the Aliso Canyon facility, to pay to clean the insides of up to 2,500 homes in Porter Ranch. On Sunday, the county health department ordered the utility to halt clean-up work because its contractors were not following protocols, which include using specialized vacuum cleaners, wet cleaning the walls and clearing ductwork. One resident told the Los Angeles Daily News that the cleaners hired by the gas company were dusting with dry cloths and didn’t have special filters to absorb the dust.
County officials have been focused on the Aliso Canyon catastrophe, and their vigilance in protecting residents is commendable. But why stop at Porter Ranch? The fact is, people living near oil-drilling sites throughout Los Angeles County have experienced the same symptoms as Porter Ranch residents, year after year. Yet there has been little investigation into what, specifically, is making them sick or how to alleviate their suffering .....................