The New York Times Magazine today published an in-depth look at how the slow response to the Porter Ranch Gas Leak made it what some call the biggest environment disaster since the BP Oil Spill.
The leak began in October, but vulnerable Congressman Steve Knight, who represents the area, didn’t appear in public until January 8th and when he did comment he put his faith in the gas company behind the disaster.
Democratic challenger Bryan Caforio, who is interviewed in the piece, attended community meetings, testified at a State Assembly hearing, and wrote a white paper outlining steps he’d take in Congress to prevent future gas leaks and ensure access to justice for victims.
Knight’s record on oil gas indicates he’s not likely to do anything meaningful to address future crises. Even at the height of the Porter Ranch crisis, Knight had the audacity to vote to limit victims’ ability to get justice for corporate wrongdoing and has cast votes protecting the oil and gas companies that bankroll him from following safety rules. During his time in the California State Legislature, Knight voted against safety guidelines in response to the San Bruno Pipeline Explosion, voted against raising civil penalties for pipeline safety rule-breaking, and voted against a bill that would make oil and gas companies responsible for environmental damage – not taxpayers.
“Families across the 25thDistrict deserve a representative who will stand up for them, not the gas company poisoning their air. Steve Knight’s months-long silence was pure negligence and shows how out of touch he is with his district,” said Barb Solish of the DCCC.
New York Times Magazine
By Nathaniel Rich
March 31, 2016
- “Bryan Caforio, a Democrat, has made the leak a central issue of the election, which promises to be one of few closely contested races in the House.”
- “The Republican incumbent, Steve Knight, who has received campaign donations from Sempra Energy, said in December that he was confident that SoCalGas was “working on this as diligently as they can” but more recently called for a congressional hearing on the matter and introduced safety regulations for natural-gas storage…. Even a Los Angeles County supervisor, Michael Antonovich, a Republican who has voted consistently against regulation efforts, has loudly proclaimed his determination to hold SoCalGas responsible.”
- “It is certain that the atmosphere will experience long-term effects.”
- “If you compare the Aliso Canyon leak to other leaks,” said Stephen Conley, the aviator-scientist, “it’s top dog. It’s a monster. It throws off L.A.’s emissions for the year. It’s a significant percentage of California’s annual carbon budget.”