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Los Angeles (January 11, 2016) -- Today, California state legislators announced a legislative package to improve California's ability to properly and safely regulate the operation of underground gas storage fields, including an Aliso Canyon well that has been the source of a serious methane leak near the community of Porter Ranch. The leak has raised public health concerns, driven thousands of families from their homes and has significant impacts on California’s progress on limiting greenhouse gas pollution that contributes to climate change.
“CLCV applauds the leadership by State Senator Fran Pavley and Senate pro Tem Kevin de León to address the health and safety impacts to Porter Ranch residents, as well as working to prevent similar preventable disasters in communities throughout the state,” said Sarah Rose, CLCV CEO.
Lawmakers described proposals that would:
impose an immediate moratorium on natural gas injection or production of gas from Aliso Canyon wells until multiple state agencies determine they do not pose any further risk;
require Southern California Gas, which operates the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, to pay for relocating residents and reducing greenhouse gas emissions out of company profits instead of passing the cost onto customers;
designate the state Office of Emergency Services as the lead agency coordinating the response activities of several other state agencies currently working independently from each other;
add new inspections and safety standards to underground gas storage fields statewide to increase leak prevention;
require a study of the long-term health impacts of community exposure to the chemicals that add odor to natural gas; and
set state targets for carbon, methane and other greenhouse gas emissions
In addition to these proposals, Senator Pavley urged officials to scrutinize land use rules that permitted gas injection wells to be within 300 feet of schools and homes despite the absence of safety valves. The well in question had no safety valve installed because state law doesn’t require it.
“This leak is the latest incident to highlight California’s aging fossil fuel energy infrastructure. We look forward to working with lawmakers to make sure proposals protect California communities and our state’s climate solutions legacy, and that this continues to be a major focus of the current legislative session,” said Rose.