Settlement reached over methane leak at California complex

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Settlement reached over methane leak at California complex
FILE - This Jan. 12, 2017 file photo shows gas gathering plant on a hilltop at the Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon storage facility near the Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles. A tentative settlement has been reached in litigation stemming from a leak at a Los Angeles storage field where a massive methane release forced thousands from their homes three years ago. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A tentative settlement has been reached in litigation stemming from a methane leak at a Los Angeles storage complex where a massive release of the gas forced thousands from their homes three years ago.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are among the officials expected at a 10 a.m. Wednesday news conference announcing the agreement with Southern California Gas Co. No details about the settlement were immediately disclosed.

The October 2015 well leak at Aliso Canyon spewed methane for nearly four months, sickened residents and drove 8,000 families from their homes. It was the largest single release of methane in U.S. history.

Operations at the facility resumed in July 2017. SoCal Gas said it had met and sometimes exceeded the state’s safety requirements, and it needed to increase its inventory at the storage field to avoid an energy shortage.

Los Angeles County unsuccessfully tried to keep the facility closed until it showed it could safely withstand an earthquake. A judge ruled he did not have authority to override a reopen order from the California Public Utilities Commission. Appeals court judges shot down efforts to halt the restart.

State officials said the facility was safe and that the earthquake fears were overblown.