by Sammy Roth, The Los Angeles Times
One of Governor Gavin Newsom’s campaign promises was to wind down the usage of the Aliso Canyon gas storage field, located just outside Los Angeles. New reports show that the facility usage has increased during his governorship
- Publicly available information analyzed by Food and Water Watch shows that SoCalGas, the owners of the facility, withdrew 20 billion cubic feet of gas from the site this winter
- Aliso Canyon had the largest methane leak in U.S. history during 2015. Other pollutants in the leak include benzene and mercaptan, known to cause cancers.
- Many environmental groups and residents near the field are calling for its closure due to the health impacts that many community members experience, including nausea, nose bleeds, and headaches
- These complaints were large during the gas leak, but residents are feeling these events even as late as May 2020
- Since the major gas leak, gas company officials say they have made many safety improvements including assessing oil wells every two years
- The California Public Utilities Commission relaxed restrictions placed on the site due to concerns of high energy prices and supply shortages
- Many believe SoCalGas still uses Aliso Canyon because the facility was worth $769 million at the end of 2019, and as long as it remains in use, SoCalGas customers will be on the hook to pay off the company’s investment, plus shareholder profits
- Though clean energy advocates want to see the end of natural gas use within the state, SoCalGas wants to use more gas captured from dairy farms
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