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Monday January 25, 2016

California gas utility ordered to study health impact of methane leak

Regional air-quality regulators in California voted on Saturday to require the utility responsible for a ruptured underground pipeline in the Los Angeles area to underwrite an independent study on the health effects of a huge methane leak from the site.

The natural gas leak in Aliso Canyon, just outside the Los Angeles neighborhood of Porter Ranch, began on Oct. 23 and ranks as the worst ever in California.

Odorized methane fumes sickened scores of people and led to the temporary relocation of thousands of residents from the northern Los Angeles community near the leaking storage field in Aliso Canyon.

The 4-1 vote on Saturday by a hearing board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, a regional agency, stopped short of requiring the utility to extract more gas from the crippled field than it already had pledged to siphon out, under orders from state officials.