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Gov. Jerry Brown this week declared a state of emergency in Porter Ranch where thousands of residents have been evacuated because of a massive gas leak.

Brown said the emergency order resulted from the widespread disruption the leak has caused and reiterated the state’s efforts to help remedy the problem.

A press release issued from Brown’s office explained that “all state agencies will utilize state personnel, equipment, and facilities to ensure a continuous and thorough state response to this incident.”

Brown this week met with residents who are concerned about the health of the people in Porter Ranch. He said he has been working on the problem, a statement which is contrary to the complaints his office has received from some residents who contend that he has not been actively involved.

“I felt he was engaged and definitely there to find out what was happening in the community,” said Paula Cracium, president of the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council.

Real estate experts say property values have taken a hit since the leak began in October 2015. Residents told Brown they want any fines assessed against the gas company reinvested in Porter Ranch’s residential and commercial areas.

Brown’s statement said the state is undertaking the following measures to ensure public safety in Porter Ranch:

  • Stopping the leak (all necessary and viable actions will be taken to ensure Southern California Gas Co. maximizes daily withdrawals of natural gas from the Aliso Canyon storage facility for use/storage elsewhere);

  • Protecting public health and safety (the state will continue its prohibition against Southern California Gas Co. injecting any gas into the Aliso Canyon storage facility);

  • Ensuring accountability (the California Public Utilities Commission will ensure that Southern California Gas Co. covers costs related to the natural gas leak and response); and

  • Strengthening oversight (the state will promulgate emergency regulations for gas storage facility operators throughout the state).