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L.A. prosecutors file criminal charges against SoCalGas in huge methane leak

A gas company sign marks a fence near the site of the Aliso Canyon storage field where gas has been leaking in Porter Ranch, California, United States, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles prosecutors on Tuesday filed criminal charges against the Southern California Gas company over a huge methane leak near the city sparked by an underground pipeline rupture that has forced thousands of residents from their homes since October.

The four misdemeanor charges accuse SoCalGas, a division of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, of failing to report the release of hazardous materials and discharging air contaminants.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Bernard Orr