May 18, 2019

Safety failures led to SoCalGas's 2015 gas blowout

Local resident

A report on the gas leak at a Southern California Gas Co. storage facility in October 2015 — the largest-known release of methane in U.S. history — was due to a corroded pipe casing, safety failures by a utility and inadequate regulations, the AP reports.

Why it matters: SoCalGas's blowout in its Aliso Canyon storage facility was deemed preventable as the company failed to investigate previous well failures and didn't properly examine its aging wells. Stricter state regulations followed the disaster, the report found.

  • The 4-month blowout was blamed for sickening thousands of Los Angeles residents and is still the root of many complaints from residents 4 years later.
  • SoCalGas spent more than $1 billion, mostly toward temporarily relocating 8,000 families, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • More than 390 lawsuits on behalf of approximately 48,500 people have been filed against the utility.
  • Residents nearby and environmental groups continue to advocate for the facility's shutdown.

Go deeper: $120 million settlement reached in SoCalGas leak case

Go deeper

America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday, while Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 as of Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."