Porter Ranch residents voiced their concerns Monday Night regarding Southern California Gas Co.’s Aliso Canyon storage facility – a site where one of the worst natural gas leaks in U.S. history occurred.
A public hearing was held by the California Public Utilities Commission to discuss the long-term feasibility of reduced use or shutting down altogether the natural gas storage location. One commissioner from the state organization attended the event, who was not available for comment at press time.
In October 2015, SoCal Gas employees discovered a leaking well, which ultimately spewed more than 100,000 metric tons of methane into the air, causing health issues as well as temporary evacuations in nearby Porter Ranch. The leak was plugged in February 2016.
At the meeting, which took place at the Northridge Woman’s Club, Porter Ranch residents held signs that said, “Health Before Wealth,” according to the Los Angeles Daily News. Affected locals gave their testimonies, citing tumors and other problems as the reasons the storage facility should cease operations.
“The scope of the proceeding does not include the immediate question of whether the facility should be reopened for injection in 2017, but rather the long-term feasibility of minimizing or eliminating the use of the facility while still maintaining energy and electric reliability for the Los Angeles region, consistent with maintaining just and reasonable rates,” the Commission’s hearing announcement stated.
Last year, the California Public Utilities Commission and SoCal Gas, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy in San Diego, along with other state agencies released the Aliso Canyon Risk Assessment Report regarding the site’s reliability.
According the report, without Aliso Canyon, the largest of SoCal Gas’ four storage fields, the company might not be able to meet energy demands. Thus, the shutdown could potentially cause shortages and increase rates.
However, many of last night’s meeting attendees, which the Daily News estimated to be around 200 people in total, voiced their safety concerns and maintained that Aliso Canyon should shutter.
A final determination on the field’s fate is expected as early as the middle of next year but could rollover into early 2019, according to the Daily News.