Readers React: Where are the visuals that show the misery of living in Porter Ranch?

To the editor: I empathize with Porter Ranch residents over the nearby methane leak, but I am mystified by the lack of visuals. 

During the BP oil spill, the media were full of compelling photos of dead and oil-soaked animals and beaches as well as other dreadful visuals. Yet, in the Porter Ranch articles, we read about human and animal nosebleeds, dead and dying backyard birds and a variety of other ills, but the accompanying images typically show residents in meetings or are aerial views of houses. (“Porter Ranch gas leak is affecting animals too, pet owners fear,” Jan. 18)

Everyone has a cellphone, so where are the compelling pictures? A woman said her horse had a nosebleed. Did she take a photo?

I have spent 35 years doing crisis management, so I know that in lawsuits, if there are no photos, it didn’t happen.


Susan M. Tellem, Malibu 


To the editor: Thanks to The Times for writing about the frustration with our political leaders that many of us who live near the leak feel. (“As Porter Ranch gas leak lingers, candidates smell a political opportunity,” Jan. 18)

I left the meeting in West Hills on Friday that featured several local leaders frustrated and fed up. It was more of the same lip service from the usual politicians. They were passing the buck and clamoring for photo opportunities and sound bites. It was an obvious attempt to collect votes for the upcoming election.


They claimed to desire accountability from the eight government oversight agencies whose representatives were sitting on the panel, but their rhetoric is useless to our community unless it is backed up by action. The only action that will be sufficient for our community: Shut down the well completely.

Closing the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility is the only way to keep our community safe.

Jennifer Milbauer, Chatsworth


To the editor: In 1996, Erin Brockovich’s law firm famously sued Pacific Gas and Electric and won a $333 million settlement for alleged carcinogenic chromium 6 water pollution in Hinkley, Calif. In 2010, a study showed that the incidence of cancer in Hinkley was actually lower than expected.

In 2003, Brockovich brought suits alleging that the oil rig near Beverly Hills High School was causing cancer among the students. In 2006, the suits were dismissed in part because the allegedly high carcinogen levels were in fact normal.

Now in 2016, Brockovich is rounding up plaintiffs in Porter Ranch to sue the Southern California Gas Co. (“Erin Brockovich appeals to Porter Ranch residents as law firms push gas leak suits,” Jan. 19)

After visiting the area, she said she felt “kind of dizzy” and a doctor told her she “had what they called a chemically induced kind of bronchitis.” She would not provide any documentation to support these claims.


Ultimately lawyers will make money here, and utility customers will be footing the bill and paying higher rates. Whether or not anyone is actually injured will be lost in the shuffle.

Thomas Einstein, Santa Monica


To the editor: I live in Chatsworth and I’m getting a daily bombardment of solicitations from attorneys regarding the gas leak. I have two questions.

First, I would love to know how much the attorneys stand to make on this litigation.

Second, what is the actual degree of toxicity in the air currently as compared to the times in my own house when my wife is painting her toenails and using her hair spray?

Carl Arrechea, Chatsworth

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