California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that he entered into a settlement with Southern California Gas Company, resolving allegations that SoCalGas made false and misleading claims that its natural gas is "renewable."

In announcing the settlement, Bonta said, "Today's settlement should send a clear message: The California Department of Justice is committed to holding accountable corporations that mislead or deceive consumers about the environmental attributes of a product."

The California AG alleged that SoCalGas advertised that the natural gas that it sells is "renewable." For example, in one online advertisement, SoCal Gas claimed, "Natural gas is affordable, clean and renewable." SoCalGas made similar claims on its website and in other media as well.

The AG alleged that the company's "renewable" claims are false and misleading because the vast majority of the natural gas that SoCalGas sells is derived from fossil fuels -- and not from the capture of biomethane at landfills and farming operations (which the AG acknowledged is generally understood to be "renewable").

In its settlement with the AG, SoCalGas agreed to pay $175,000. The company also agreed to not claim that its natural gas is "renewable" until it can comply with the standards set forth in the FTC's Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims. Interestingly, the AG is also requiring SoCalGas to engage in some corrective advertising, by publishing certain information on its website for the next year, including the statement that, "Most of SoCalGas's fuel portfolio is, at present, comprised of non-renewable natural gas derived from fossil fuels."

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