For Immediate Release:
March 19, 2021
LOS ANGELES – On March 18, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Aliso Canyon Disaster Health Research Study team released a set of draft Health Study Goals and Priorities for public review and comment. As required by the Court settlement with the Southern California Gas Company, the draft Goals and Priorities were determined by the Health Study’s Scientific Oversight Committee (SOC) and reflect input gathered from a series of community engagements with people who lived near and experienced the Aliso Canyon disaster.
Independent third-party researchers will conduct the Health Study. Study types and research methods will be proposed by independent third-party researchers through a competitive bid process following the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) later this year.
The public comment period will be open for 30 days and close on Friday, April 16, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) and the SOC requests and encourages the public, especially people living and working in the San Fernando Valley’s northwestern neighborhoods, to review and provide comments on the detailed goals and priorities. All public comments will be considered when finalizing the Health Study Goals and Priorities.
Interested members of the public may submit their comments on the draft Health Study Goals and Priorities no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 16, 2021. Comments may be submitted through an online form or by email.
The draft Health Study Goals and Priorities and instructions for submitting comments are available for download and review at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/eh/docs/healthresearch/goal-priorities-draft-public-review.pdf
In October 2015, the largest gas blowout in the history of the United States began at the Southern California Gas (SoCal Gas) Company’s Aliso Canyon gas storage facility. An estimated total of 109,000 metric tons of methane flowed uncontrolled from Aliso Canyon Well SS-25. It was successfully sealed, on February 15, 2016. Many residents experienced physical and emotional symptoms during the blowout and after the well was sealed, and some continue to report symptoms to this day.
In February 2019, a legal settlement was approved by a Los Angeles County Superior Court requiring SoCal Gas to pay $25 million for a study of short- and long-term health impacts. A competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process will be launched in late Spring/Early Summer of 2021 to recruit an independent research team to lead the Health Study.
The SOC, a group of independent national and subject matter experts and public agency representatives lending expertise to the Health Study program, will be developing important components of the RFP. One of the key elements of the RFP will be the final Aliso Canyon Disaster Health Study Goals and Priorities. Developed with input received from the affected community through a variety of engagement efforts, these draft Goals and Priorities identify key areas the Health Study should address.
Over the past two years, Public Health has engaged extensively with the impacted communities and has collected a wealth of input including: what residents would like to see studied, what their health concerns were and may continue to be, and what the lingering symptoms following the blowout are. The SOC is using this input to shape and inform the Health Study development process, including determining the specific Health Study goals, which are now posted online for public review and comment.
For more information on the Health Study, visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/eh/healthresearch/
The Department of Public Health is committed to promoting health equity and ensuring optimal health and well-being for all 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,500 employees and has an annual budget of $1.2 billion. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, please visit www.publichealth .lacounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/lacounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/lapublichealth, facebook.com/lapublichealth, instagram.com/lapublichealth and youtube.com/lapublichealth.