A woman walks past a Porter Ranch sign at the entrance to Southern California Gas Co.’s Aliso Canyon storage field. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A woman walks past a Porter Ranch sign at the entrance to Southern California Gas Co.’s Aliso Canyon storage field. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to support a state Senate bill that would prevent Southern California Gas Co. from resuming gas injections at the Aliso Canyon storage facility.

SB 146 states that the company should be prevented from resuming injection operations until the root cause of a massive leak that began in October of 2015 and lasted four months can be determined.

The leak spewed 109,000 metric tons of methane into the air and displaced thousands of residents near the facility in Porter Ranch.

The 10-0 council vote came hours ahead of a public hearing by state regulators on a proposal to allow SoCalGas to resume injecting natural gas into the storage yard.

According to state regulators, 34 of the 114 wells at the facility passed a series of safety tests by mid-January, indicating they can be safely used to again inject natural gas into the storage facility. The other wells have been taken out of service, and they must pass all safety tests within one year or be plugged.

Officials with the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources and the California Public Utilities Commission have recommended that the injections resume but at reduced amounts and lower pressure levels than those requested by SoCalGas.

SoCalGas officials have said Aliso Canyon has undergone a series of rigorous inspections, and each well “has been thoroughly tested.”

“The state’s energy experts and independent third parties have concluded, in three consecutive technical assessments, that Aliso Canyon is needed to meet the region’s natural gas and electricity needs,” Gas Co. spokesman Chris Gilbride said.

The council resolution was presented by Councilman Mitch Englander, who represents the Porter Ranch area.

–City News Service 

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