The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday is slated to consider a resolution to support legislation or regulatory efforts to close the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Facility, which was the site of a 2015 methane leak that was deemed one of the worst natural gas leaks in the U.S. and one of the worst environmental catastrophes in California history.
The resolution, introduced by Councilman John Lee, would:
— urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to take steps to accelerate a permanent closure plan for the facility;
— show the City Council’s support for legislation that reduces the need for the facility and leads to its decommissioning; and
— urge all relevant California agencies to give the city of Los Angeles quarterly updates on the status of the closure plan for the facility.
The Southern California Gas Co. facility leaked about 97,100 metric tons of methane and 7,300 metric tons of ethane, “resulting in serious environmental damage,” the resolution states.
Lee also noted additional danger from the facility as it sits on a fault line.
“The natural gas blowout revealed deficiencies in regulatory oversight, including well inspections, emergency preparedness and the responsibility for associated costs including mitigation efforts,” the motion says.
The gas leak was discovered at the underground storage facility in October 2015 and continued emanating methane until February 2016. Thousands of residents in the northwest San Fernando Valley were forced out of their homes for months due to the leak.
Limited operations resumed at the facility in late July 2017 with the blessing of state regulators. Efforts by Los Angeles County officials to block the resumed operations failed in court.
According to a report commissioned by the California Public Utilities Commission and the state Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, the leak was caused by microbial corrosion of a well casing, and Southern California Gas Co. did not conduct detailed follow-up inspections of analyses after previous leaks.
The report identified more than 60 casing leaks at Aliso Canyon prior to the 2015-2016 leak, going back to the 1970s, but said no failure investigations were conducted by SoCalGas, which “lacked any form of risk assessment focused on well integrity management and lacked systematic practices of external corrosion protection and a real-time, continuous pressure monitoring system for well surveillance.”
Ahead of City Council’s consideration of the resolution, Food & Water Watch, along with San Fernando Valley residents and activists, will hold a news conference to urge council members to pass the resolution and to close the facility. The news conference can be accessed virtually at 9 a.m. by visiting bit.ly/3eZv14S.
The City Council will consider the resolution at its 10 a.m. meeting. People can watch at clerk.lacity.org/calendar.
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