Affected residents blast Rep. Steve Knight on third anniversary of Aliso Canyon blowoutMai Nguyen Do October 25, 2018 1 COMMENT
Marking the three year anniversary of the historic Aliso Canyon blowout, Porter Ranch residents who were evacuated from their homes called out Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) for accepting donations from those responsible for the leak.
6,800 households were evacuated as a result of the 100,000 tons of methane released from the Southern California Gas Company’s (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in 2015. The blowout was the largest discharge of methane in United States history.
The residents were joined by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-San Fernando Valley), Sen. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) and Newhall School District Governing Board president Christy Smith. The three were part of the coalition that called for accountability during and in the wake of the blowout.
“We still don’t have answers about the chemicals that blew out of this hill,” Stern said. “When we asked for his help, where was Steve Knight? Nowhere.”
Smith, who is running for the 38th Assembly District, criticized Knight for accepting campaign contributions from oil and gas companies. “Steve Knight has not stood up to the corporate interests and continues to take money from the fossil fuel industry,” Smith said.
Knight’s campaign has accepted $16,000 from Sempra Energy, the parent company of SoCalGas, according to the Federal Election Commission.
While the elected officials spoke, residents held signs that read “Congressman Steve Knight — $16,050 Is Not Worth My Life” and “Congressman Steve Knight Sold Us Out to SoCal Gas.”
Andrew Krowne is a father of five young children who was forced to evacuate his home for several months because of the methane leak. “Knight would rather side with polluters — wealth over health,” Krowne said. “Steve Knight practices his politics in board rooms and in Washington, not here in the San Fernando Valley. It’s time for a change.”
“We need to have someone who is paying attention to us,” local resident Richard Matthews said. Matthews and his 91-year-old mother have allegedly been suffering from vision problems since the blowout. “The congressman who represents this spot, who represents this facility itself, has been working against us.”
Knight’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Mai Nguyen Do is a Vietnamese American poet and researcher. She is a lifelong Santa Clarita resident and a College of the Canyons graduate. She is also the author of Ghosts Still Walking (2016) and Battlefield Blooming (2019). Find her on Twitter @DoNguyenMai.