January 9, 2016

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

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