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California governor calls state of emergency over gas leak

A massive natural-gas leak has blanketed Los Angeles for months, forcing thousands to flee their homes. The 1,200 tons of methane spewing everyday has caused residents headaches, nausea and other ailments.

California Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday called a state emergency, as a massive natural-gas leak has blanketed Los Angeles for months. The leak has been releasing 1,200 tons of methane everyday just outside Los Angeles's Porter Ranch neighborhood.

The governor's office called on local, state and federal authorities for their assistance, as thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes.

More than 2,100 families have been relocated to temporary housing by Southern California Gas (SoCalGas), which owns the well.

Students in Los Angeles County have also been moved out of schools at the request of the Los Angeles school board and Los Angeles County.

People have also complained of headaches, nausea and respiratory irritation from the odorants added to the natural gas.

Delayed emergency

The leak was discovered on October 23 at a well, and is believed to have been caused by a broken injection pipe buried several hundred feet underground.

However, the call for emergency was delayed as the governor wanted to make sure the utility, rather than the state, paid the costs.

SoCalGas has said they will attempt to fix the problem by drilling a relief well near the damaged pipe, and then inject fluids and cement into it. The governor's office said it would monitor the situation.

smm/rc (Reuters, AFP, AP)