Category: Aliso Canyon

Aliso Canyon Storage Facility Closes as Saddleridge Fire Rages

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Southern California Gas Company officials shut down the Aliso Canyon storage facility as a precaution due to the fire threat Friday.

The Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon storage facility has been evacuated due to the Saddleridge Fire, authorities said Friday.

“All SoCalGas Aliso Canyon storage facility staff are safe, and the facility has been evacuated by fire officials,” utility spokesperson Melissa Bailey said in a statement.

“L.A. (city) Fire and L.A. County Fire have multiple fire engines and personnel fighting the fire in and around the Aliso Canyon facility,” Bailey said. “There is no known damage to our facility at this time.”

SoCalGas maintains a “detailed and systematic” brush-clearing program around its facilities to minimize the chances of a brush fire affecting storage wellheads, Bailey said.

“We do not anticipate any damage to our storage wellheads due to the fire,” Bailey said. “Once the facility evacuation is lifted, crews will assess any damage to the facility.”

Bailey cautioned residents whose natural gas service was shut off not to try to turn it back on themselves.

“Only a SoCalGas technician or certified contractors are authorized to operate the natural gas service shut-off valve,” Bailey said. “We urge customers to continue to report suspected gas leaks by calling 1-800-427-2200 or 911 after evacuating the immediate area.”

State Appeals Court Says Residents Affected By Aliso Gas Leak Can Seek Restitution

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An appeals court ruled that residents affected by the Aliso Canyon leak can seek restitution stemming from the company’s delay in reporting.

A state appeals court panel ruled Tuesday that Porter Ranch-area residents affected by the 2015-16 Aliso Canyon natural gas leak can seek restitution from Southern California Gas Co., but only stemming from the company’s delay in reporting the leak to state regulators.

The three-judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal remanded the issue to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge for a hearing on “whether petitioners can prove damages from the three-day delay in reporting the leak, as charged in the criminal complaint.”

Southern California Gas Co. pleaded no contest in September 2016 to a misdemeanor count of failing to immediately report the gas leak, which began Oct. 23, 2015, and wasn’t capped until mid-February 2016. Three other misdemeanor charges — one count of discharging air contaminants and two more counts of failing to report the release of hazardous materials — were dismissed as part of the deal.

At the sentencing hearing in November 2016, Read more »

State and SoCal Gas Settle Over Aliso Gas Leak for $119.5 Million

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The news of an tentative settlement between state officials and SoCal has many residents involved in a class action suit nervous.

A $119.5 million settlement agreement was announced Wednesday to resolve claims by several governmental bodies stemming from the massive Aliso Canyon methane leak — the biggest in U.S. history — that sent more than 100,000 tons of natural gas into neighborhoods around Porter Ranch.

According to a statement released by Southern California Gas Co. just before the start of a news conference to detail the agreement, the settlement with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, the County of Los Angeles, the California Attorney General’s office and the California Air Resources Board resolves “all outstanding claims by those government bodies against the company related to the 2015-2016 natural gas leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.”

“Under the terms of the $119.5 million settlement agreement, SoCalGas will, among other things, reimburse city, county and state governments for costs associated with their response to the leak; establish a program with the California Air Resources Board to mitigate the methane emissions from the leak; and fund local environmental benefit projects to be administered by the government parties,” according to the statement.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Councilman Mitch Englander and county Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Hilda Solis were scheduled to discuss the settlement at a 10 a.m. news conference.

The gas stemmed from an underground storage facility owned by the company.

Officials said the invisible gas was flowing for about four months in what is being called the worst methane leak in history. An estimated 8,000 residents evacuated their homes, and people from the area said they experienced health issues such as headaches, nosebleeds and nausea.

A class-action suit involving around 9,000 plaintiffs has been filed again SoCalGas. People affiliated with the suit said they resented reports of a settlement since it indicated that a state investigation of the leak will end even though, they claim, the leaking has not stopped.

Bret Lane, the utility’s president and chief operating officer, said SoCalGas “is delivering on our commitment to the governor and the people of California to fully mitigate the methane emissions from the leak at our Aliso Canyon facility.”

“The settlement will also help California meet its ambitious climate goals by advancing projects that capture methane from dairy farms and waste and convert that energy into renewable natural gas for use in transportation,” he said. “SoCalGas is pleased to have worked with the Attorney General’s Office, the Air Resources Board, the Los Angeles City Attorney and the County of Los Angeles to resolve these matters for the people of California.”

The gas leak, which was discovered in October 2015 and continued emanating methane until February 2016, poured an estimated 109,000 tons of methane into the air and forced an estimated 15,000 residents to temporarily relocate.

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.

Last year, SoCalGas reached an $8.5 million settlement with South Coast Air Quality Management District over the leak, which included $1 million in funding for an SCAQMD-sponsored health study on the impacts of the leak, although county health officials said that $35 million to $40 million would be needed for an adequate study.

Supervisor Barger: Call to Action! Monthly Meeting WEDNESDAY, 2/7 at 7pm

L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger

Call and Email L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger TODAY!

It’s time for Supervisor Barger to do more, and call on Gov. Jerry Brown to shut down Aliso Canyon before he leaves office.
CALL her TODAY! (213) 974-5555

Supervisor Barger has agreed that:

  1. Aliso Canyon is not safe
  2. Residents are too sick
  3. AND we don’t need it for energy reliability.

She worked to keep Aliso Canyon closed to gas injections when Governor Brown push to open it. Now we need her to make a final stand in Brown’s last year. Call on Governor Brown to use his authority to shut down Aliso Canyon now, not in ten years!

CALL and EMAIL:
(213) 974-5555
[email protected]

Demand:
We want Supervisor Barger to pass a resolution like LAUSD did to call on Gov. Jerry Brown to #ShutItALLDown!

Save Porter Ranch Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, February 7, 7-9pm

Are you sick of all the latest leaks? Want to do more to help us shut down Aliso Canyon? Join us at the next Save Porter Ranch monthly meeting to get more involved with our campaigns to shut down Aliso Canyon, get a health study, Dr. Nordella’s study, and more.

Mark your calendars for the first Wednesday of every month for the Save Porter Ranch monthly meeting.

And please bring your checkbook, cash or credit card so you can donate to SPR!  Ask your neighbors to help even if they can’t be at the meeting.

What: Save Porter Ranch Monthly Meeting
When: Wednesday, February 7, 7:00-900pm, social/food from 7:00-7:30, meeting from 7:30-9:00pm
Where: 9666 Lemona Ave, North Hills, CA
Bring: small dish of food to share, notebook, pen

IF YOU ARE SICK OR SMELL GAS, take these steps to report it!

Dr. Nordella’s Aliso Canyon Disaster Health Study Town Hall Meeting – Saturday, October 14, 2017

Aliso Canyon Health Study Town Hall flyer 2017.10.14

Many North Valley community members were gravely impacted by the Aliso Canyon gas facility disaster of 2015, and many continue to experience unexplained health ailments.  After many failed promises of a meaningful health impact study, Dr. Jeffrey Nordella, a local medical doctor, stepped up to the plate and decided to undertake the study by himself.  He set up an arrangement with an out-of-state laboratory, and many community members submitted hair and urine samples for toxins analysis, which they had to pay for themselves.  Dr. Nordella has spent countless hours seeing patients and analyzing their health data.  He is finally ready to present to the community the outcome of his study and his interpretation of the results.

With support from non-profit organizations in the community, Dr. Nordella will be presenting the results at a Town Hall meeting to be held at the Woodland Hills Hilton on Saturday, October 14, 2017.  The hotel is located at 6360 Canoga Avenue, Woodland Hills.  The Town Hall is scheduled from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  Parking at the hotel costs $16, but there is free parking in the vicinity. The Orange Line Canoga Station is two walkable blocks to the north.  Please refer to flyer for further event details.

Judge Denies County’s Bid To Block Aliso Canyon Restart

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The ruling paves the way for Gas Co. to restart operations at Aliso Canyon, which was closed down following a catastrophic leak.

Los Angeles County lost its bid Friday for a court order blocking the re-start of natural gas injections at the Aliso Canyon storage facility in Porter Ranch, the site of the largest methane leak in U.S. history.

State regulators announced last week that injections could resume in a limited fashion, primarily to prevent electrical supply shortages in Southern California. But county officials objected, saying the facility should not reopen until a study is completed on the cause of the 2015-16 gas leak. They also argued that further study is needed on the possible damage a large earthquake could cause to the storage field.

The county asked for a temporary restraining order blocking the resumption of gas injections, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Shepard Wiley Jr. ruled that he did not have the authority to “interfere” in the operation of a facility governed by the California Public Utilities Commission. Read more »

Notice of Joint Agency Workshop on Aliso Canyon Action Plan for Local Energy Reliability in Summer 2016

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The California Energy Commission will jointly conduct a workshop with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California Independent System Operator (California ISO), and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to discuss the near-term gas and electricity reliability risks to the Los Angeles Basin due to recent events at the Southern California Gas Company’s (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon gas storage facility. The joint agency workshop will include an action plan describing the local reliability risks for the summer of 2016 and recommended near-term mitigation measures. The workshop is part of the 2016 Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) Update proceeding.
Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller will conduct the meeting jointly with CPUC President Michael Picker, along with representatives from the California ISO and LADWP. Chair Weisenmiller is the Energy Commission’s Lead Commissioner for electricity and natural gas issues. Other Commissioners from the Energy Commission and the CPUC may also attend and participate in the workshop. A quorum of Commissioners from the CPUC and/or the Energy Commission may be in attendance.
130924-California-Energy-Commission-LOGOFRIDAY, APRIL 8, 2016
1:00 pm
(Wheelchair Accessible)
Seating capacity is limited to 380
Remote Access Available by Computer or Phone via WebEx™
For details, go to www.energy.ca.gov/webcast.
The workshop will be streamed live at http://live.hosted.events/AlisoCanyon.

President Obama Creates Task Force to Investigate Aliso Canyon Gas Leak

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The task force aims to investigate how the Aliso Canyon leak happened, why it took so long to fix and how to prevent future leaks.

President Barack Obama has agreed to convene a multi- agency task force to investigate the cause of the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak and determine ways to prevent a similar incident from occurring, Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein announced today.

Boxer, who last week joined Feinstein in requesting that Obama set up the committee, said she is “gratified that President Obama understands that we must make sure that what happened in Aliso Canyon never happens again, and the task force he has appointed will report back in six months on how to do just that.”

She said Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz assured her Thursday that “the task force will work with state and local officials to resolve all outstanding issues, including whether Aliso Canyon can operate safely in the future, in order to protect our people and our planet.” Read more »

Breaking: Aliso Canyon Gas Leak Temporarily Controlled

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A relief well has reached the Southern California Gas Co. well that has been leaking since October, forcing the evacuation of thousands.

Signaling that relief is in sight for thousands of residents in Porter Ranch, Southern California Gas Co. crews temporarily controlled the leak of natural gas today from the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility well that has been spewing gas since late October.

According to the utility, a relief well more than one mile deep intercepted the leaking well, and crews began pumping heavy fluids to control the flow of gas. Work will now begin to seal the well and permanently cap the leak.

“We have temporarily controlled the natural gas flow from the leaking well and begun the process of sealing the well and permanently stopping the leak,” said Jimmie Cho, SoCalGas senior vice president of gas operations and system integrity.

Gas Co. officials said that while the development is a “positive” step, cement will still need to be injected from the relief well — which is more than 8,600 feet — into the leaking well, a process expected to take several days. Once the gas company seals the leaking well with cement, the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources will have to confirm that the flow of gas has stopped. That process is expected to take several more days.

Once the state confirms that the leak has been halted, residents who have been relocated from their homes due to the leak will have eight days to move back to their homes. People living in temporary housing with extended leases will have until those leases run out to return home.

As of Wednesday, 4,645 households were living in temporary housing, at Gas Co. expense. According to the utility, 1,726 other households that had been relocated have already returned home. The utility has also installed 5,467 air scrubbers at Porter Ranch-area homes and performed “weatherization” work on 5,410 homes.

“We are so relieved that the Gas Co. was able (to) successfully control the flow of this leak and we look forward to it being certified safe for residents to move home,” said Paula Cracium, president of the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council. “The community is exhausted after living with these effects for over a hundred days and excited to be back in their homes.”

The leak was discovered Oct. 23 and has had long-lasting repercussions, including multiple lawsuits and criminal charges filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The Gas Co. was charged with three counts of failing to report the release of hazardous materials from Oct. 23 to Oct. 26, and one count of discharging air contaminants, beginning Oct. 23 and continuing through today. The charges are all misdemeanors.

If convicted, the company could be fined up to $25,000 a day for each day it failed to notify the state Office of Emergency Services about the leak. It could be fined up to $1,000 per day for air pollution violations, prosecutors said.

Officials with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have said they do not believe the gas leak poses any risk of long-term health issues, but the agency plans to continue monitoring air quality in the area even though the flow of gas has been temporarily stopped.

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Your 2016 Granada Hills North Neighborhood Newsletter is Now Available

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This year, we filled 8 pages to create the most informative newsletter we’ve ever created.

Some of the topics addressed include:

  • Robocalls
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Neighborhood Council Elections
  • A New Project at the Sunshine Canyon Landfill
  • Illegal Sign Posting
  • Neighborhood Watch News
  • and Aliso Canyon Gas Spill Updates

Click here to download the 2016 Newsletter, or just read it below.

Read more »

ARB oil and gas workshop may be crowded as a result of Aliso Canyon gas leak

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From http://www.examiner.com

A relatively obscure public workshop next week may be subject to increased scrutiny, criticism, and public participation because of a massive natural gas leak from a Southern California Gas Company gas storage field in Los Angeles County.

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will be holding the fourth of a series of workshops regarding its draft Regulation for Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards for Crude Oil and Natural Gas Facilities. Developed as a consequence of California’s landmark climate change legislation, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), ARB has been working on regulations to address the control and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from such facilities for a couple of years now.

Workshops of this type are typically fairly routine, usually sparsely attended by representatives of the affected industries, regulatory personnel, and the occasional environmental group.

However, this will be the first workshop to be held to discuss the new GHG regulation since the disastrous failure of a gas well at Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon gas storage facility. Located near an upscale residential area known as Porter Ranch in Northridge, CA, the massive methane leak has so far spewed a mass equal to 2.2 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) since October of last year. Methane is one of the most powerful GHGs, with a global warming potential that is more than 25 times that of CO2.

As a result of odor complaints and reported illnesses, over 11,000 people have been temporarily relocated to unaffected areas as the company has struggled to control and stop the leak. On January 6, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency as a result of the leak and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has taken its own enforcement action against the company.

Given the public outcry and concern over this leak, which has attracted international attention, one can only conclude that the upcoming workshop will provide a very visible and convenient format for those demanding the closure and/or increased control of Aliso Canyon and other such facilities located elsewhere in the state.

The workshop is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. to Noon on February 4, 2016. It will be held at the Sierra Hearing Room at Cal/EPA Headquarters on 1000 “I” Street in Sacramento, CA. The workshop will also be broadcast on the web and those participating in that manner will be able to submit comments and ask questions by email, or, they may participate by teleconference as well.

More information on participating in the workshop may be found here: GHG Workshop Details  Read more »

Councilmember Englander Demands SoCal Gas Recognize Adjacent Communities Affected by Aliso Canyon Gas Leak

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This Tuesday, the City Council unanimously approved Councilmember Mitchell Englander’s motion asking that the Southern California Gas Company (SoCal Gas) recognize and extend their relocation efforts to include the immediately adjacent communities of Granada Hills, Chatsworth, and Northridge and that residents requesting relocation from those communities be treated with the same respect and priority as anyone with a reasonable relocation request.

Overwhelmingly, many residents of the adjacent communities are reporting that they too are experiencing symptoms related to mercaptans exposure. Unlike residents of Porter Ranch, however, they report that they have tried to take advantage of relocation assistance and have either been denied or relegated to a “non-priority” status, or simply have not received return phone calls, thereby extending their considerable exposure and suffering.

Odors and airborne chemicals don’t recognize community lines or zip code boundaries. It is critically important that all reasonable relocation requests be accommodated by SoCal Gas and that everyone experiencing symptoms be treated equally.

Detailed Coverage Area Map: http://cd12.org…

SoCal Gas Customer Resource Center Opens in Porter Ranch

unnamedThe Customer Resource Center  is now open in Porter Ranch. This physical storefront which is ADA accessible and multilingual provides a one-stop portal of information for all members of the public. Several hundred residents per day have already utilized this resource. The SoCal Gas Company will be expanding this center with the space next door to accommodate growing requests.

Southern California Gas Company Customer Resource Center
19731 Rinaldi St.
Porter Ranch

Monday through Friday
10:00 am to 8:00 pm

To report a smell or potential gas leak, call the SoCal Gas Company at (800) 427-2200 and call the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) at (800) 288-7664 or go online: http://www.aqmd.gov/contact/complaints.

SoCal_Gas_Community_Resource_Center_1For residents who wish to relocate, the SoCal Gas Company is providing free, temporary housing accommodations, including locations that can accommodate residents with disabilities and people with access and functional needs. For residents with pets, the SoCal Gas Company has arranged pet-friendly locations. To receive temporary housing accommodations, call 877-238-9555.

If you feel you have suffered illness, harm or injury as a result of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak incident, call the SoCal Gas Company Claims Department at 213-244-5151, or fill out the online form at https://www.socalgas.com/about-us/claims.

For information on K-12 students and school related issues, please contact the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Local District Northwest at (818) 654-3600. You can also email your Local District Northwest Superintendent, Vivian Ekchian, directly at [email protected].

Governor Brown Issues Proclamation of Emergency for Aliso Canyon Gas Leak

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From Councilmember Mitchell Englander:

Given the prolonged and continuing duration of the Aliso Canyon gas leak and at the request of residents, my office and other local officials, this Wednesday, Governor Jerry Brown issued a proclamation that declares the situation an emergency. The order also directs further action to protect public health and safety, ensure accountability and strengthen oversight of gas storage facilities. This issue reaches communities throughout the Northwest San Fernando Valley. The proclamation implements the following key orders:

  • Stopping the Leak: Ensuring SoCal Gas: maximizes daily withdrawals of natural gas from the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility for use or storage elsewhere; captures leaking gas and odorants while relief wells are being completed; and identifies how it will stop the gas leak if relief wells fail to seal the leaking well, or if the existing leak worsens.
  • Protecting Public Health and Safety: The state will: continue its prohibition against SoCal Gas injecting any gas into the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility until a comprehensive review of the safety of the storage wells and the air quality of the surrounding community utilizing independent experts is completed; expand its real-time monitoring of emissions in the community; convene an independent panel of scientific and medical experts to review public health concerns; and take all actions necessary to ensure the continued reliability of natural gas and electricity supplies in the coming months.
  • Ensuring Accountability: The California Public Utilities Commission will ensure SoCal Gas covers costs related to the natural gas leak and its response, while protecting ratepayers; and the state will develop a program to fully mitigate the leak’s emissions of methane funded by SoCal Gas.
  • Strengthening Oversight: The state will promulgate emergency regulations for gas storage facility operators throughout the state, requiring: at least daily inspection of gas storage well heads using gas leak detection technology such as infrared imaging; ongoing verification of the mechanical integrity of all gas storage wells; regular testing of all safety valves used in wells; a comprehensive risk management plan for each facility that evaluates and prepares for risks, including corrosion potential of pipes and equipment.

The Aliso Canyon Gas leak is one of the most devastating environmental disasters in the history of California. The residents of the San Fernando Valley have suffered too much for too long. I want to thank Governor Jerry Brown for listening and responding to the thousands of residents affected by this catastrophe and for ensuring that the Southern California Gas Company (SoCal Gas) bears the full financial burden.

Click here to read Governor Brown’s Proclamation of Emergency.

-Mitchell Englander, Councilmember Twelfth District

Governor Brown Issues Order on Aliso Canyon Gas Leak

Governor Brown Issues Order on Aliso Canyon Gas Leak

SACRAMENTO – Given the prolonged and continuing duration of the Aliso Canyon gas leak and at the request of residents and local officials, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued a proclamation that declares the situation an emergency and details the administration’s ongoing efforts to help stop the leak. The order also directs further action to protect public health and safety, ensure accountability and strengthen oversight of gas storage facilities.

Earlier this week, Governor Brown met with Porter Ranch residents and toured the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility, including the site of the leak and one of the relief wells.

Today’s proclamation builds on months of regulatory and oversight actions from seven state agencies mobilized to protect public health, oversee Southern California Gas Company’s actions to stop the leak, track methane emissions, ensure worker safety, safeguard energy reliability and address any other problems stemming from the leak. Actions include:

  • The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services established an Read more »