Bryan Caforio Proposes Policy Fixes to Prevent the Next Porter Ranch

Contact: Orrin Evans
Orrin@bryancaforio.com

Immediate Release:
February 1, 2016

Bryan Caforio Proposes Policy Fixes to Prevent the Next Porter Ranch
NO LEAK ACT Would Assist Local Agencies, Prevent Gas Leaks, and Ensure Access to Justice for Victims

Valencia, Calif. – Attorney and candidate for Congress Bryan Caforio today released a white paper outlining steps he would take in Congress in the wake of the disastrous methane leak in Porter Ranch, which has caused thousands of families and businesses to relocate. Caforio’s Nation Overcoming Leaking Emissions by Acting Knowingly and Controlling Toxins (NO LEAK ACT) would assist local agencies, prevent future gas leaks, and ensure access to justice for victims.

“As the residents in and around Porter Ranch show their resilience in pulling together to overcome the worst environmental disaster since the BP Horizon Oil Spill, Congress must take strong action now,” said Caforio. “It’s time to change a system where a handful of powerful corporations can act with impunity while vulnerable families are left without access to justice.”

While Caforio proposes substantive solutions, his opponent Steve Knight continues to defend one of his largest campaign contributors Sempra Energy and their subsidiary SoCalGas, which is being sued for negligence in causing the environmental disaster.

Caforio was born and raised in Southern California by two public school teachers, attended UCLA and Yale Law School, worked for a United States federal judge, and is currently a partner at Susman Godfrey L.L.P. where he practices as an attorney taking on some of the world’s biggest banks. Bryan lives in Valencia with his wife Lisa, who serves as a Deputy City Attorney at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.

The 25th District covers northern Los Angeles County and part of Ventura County including the Antelope Valley, Palmdale, Lancaster, Santa Clarita, and Simi Valley. President Obama carried the district in 2008, and experts consider it a toss-up in a Presidential year. Last year Democratic registration eclipsed Republican registration for the first time, and more than half the voting age population is non-white. National Republicans list Congressman Knight as one of their most vulnerable incumbents.

The Nation Overcoming Leaking Emissions by Acting Knowingly and Controlling Toxins (NO LEAK ACT)

As the residents in and around Porter Ranch, California, show their resilience in pulling together to overcome the worst environmental disaster since the BP Horizon Oil Spill, the United States Federal Government must take strong action now to accomplish three goals:

1. Assist local agencies in responding to the leak immediately.
2. Prevent future gas leaks with stronger nationwide uniform standards.
3. Ensure that all of those harmed have access to justice, an opportunity to receive a full
recovery, and the right to relocate and rebuild.

Assist Local Agencies in Responding to the Leak
The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), Department of Transportation (“DOT”), and Department of Justice (“DOJ”) should:

  • coordinate with state and local agencies to determine what federal assistance is needed;
  • provide all requested assistance to rapidly address the leak; and
  • appoint a senior official from each agency to serve as point person for all cross-agency communication to increase cooperation and reduce inefficiencies.

Prevent Future Gas Leaks with Stronger Nationwide Uniform Standards
With more than 400 natural gas storage facilities across the country, we cannot continue to rely on states to impose conflicting, haphazard, or non-existent safety standards. Instead, Congress should pass legislation providing for robust, enforceable, and uniform nationwide standards, including by:

  • authorizing the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) to maintain jurisdiction over natural gas storage facilities and implement appropriate regulations;
  • requiring increased leak detection and repair monitoring to make sure we have early warning of any future leak;
  • requiring technologically advanced security safeguards, including downhole safety valves, on all storage wells; and
  • increasing funding for the EPA and PHMSA to provide sufficient resources to enforce regulations and protect families.

Ensure that Everyone Harmed has Access to Justice and Opportunity for Full Recovery
The harm caused by the Aliso Canyon gas leak will likely reach into the billions of dollars in direct harm, with untold additional damage to the state, national, and global environment. Congress must ensure that all victims have access to justice, the right to receive a full recovery, and the ability to relocate and rebuild by:

  • guaranteeing that anyone harmed by the environmental disaster not be precluded from bringing a claim because of unfair class action waivers imposed by the wrongdoers;
  • explicitly authorizing recovery for all reasonable and necessary relocation and living expenses caused by the leak, with interest from the date the leak began;
  • expanding access to Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the Small Business Administration for all businesses affected by the leak; and
  • ensuring there is a mechanism in place for state and federal entities to recover for the environmental harms caused by the negligent actor(s) by requiring 100% remediation.

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