The tool on the hill, a SoCal Gas well overlooking Porter Ranch

When something goes wrong, and big industry powers play a role in what locally and regionally elected officials know and say about it, the issue of who you can trust arises.

In Flint, Mich., officials said the water was safe to drink. It wasn't. In the hills of Porter Ranch, outside Los Angeles, officials say the air is safe to breathe. But, the New York Times staffer Ian Lovett and a growing number of local newspapers have been reporting that local citizens are not so sure of that, and the big doubters are moving out, maybe permanently. Lovett writes:

No consistently high levels of heavy metals or known carcinogens have been found in Porter Ranch, a wealthy master-planned neighborhood in the hills at the edge of the San Fernando Valley.

Still, health officials have found it nearly impossible to break through the public’s skepticism.

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