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
January 21, 2016
Dear Sir or Madam:
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) staff invites you to participate in a public workshop regarding ARB’s draft Regulation for Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards for Crude Oil and Natural Gas Facilities, on Thursday, February 4, 2016. At the workshop, staff will present revised draft regulatory language, as well as emission
reduction and cost-effectiveness estimates.
Staff welcomes public input on the appropriate scope and content of the draft regulatory language. The workshop will include an opportunity for questions, feedback, and presentations by stakeholders and members of the public. Following the workshop, stakeholders and members of the public may send additional feedback.
Enclosed is a draft workshop agenda. Prior to the workshop, a final agenda, staff presentations, and any supporting information will be posted at http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/oil-gas/oil-gas.htm.
The workshop will be held at the following time and location:
DATE: February 4, 2016
TIME: 9:00 a.m. – Noon
LOCATION: Sierra Hearing Room, Second Floor
ADDRESS: Cal/EPA Headquarters Building
1001 "I" Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Directions to the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) headquarters and public transit can be found at the Cal/EPA website at http://www.calepa.ca.gov/epabldg/location.htm.
This workshop will be webcast. You may access the webcast at
http://www.calepa.ca.gov/broadcast/?BDO=1. During the webcast, we will accept feedback and questions sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
You may participate in this workshop by teleconference by dialing 888-324-8197 (for domestic) or 1-630-395-0300 (for international), give the participant code: 3721150 and leader name: Ms. Elizabeth Scheehle. Please note that if you call internationally, it is a toll call.
If you require special accommodation for the scheduled event/meeting or need this document in an alternate format (e.g., Braille, large print) or another language, please contact Ms. Regina Cornish at (916) 327-1493 or Regina.Cornish@arb.ca.gov as soon as possible. TTY/TDD/Speech to Speech users may dial 711 for the California Relay Service.
We welcome and encourage your participation in this effort. If you have questions about the workshop, please contact me at (916) 322-7630 or via email at Elizabeth.Scheehle@arb.ca.gov, or Ms. Joelle Howe, Air Pollution Specialist, Oil and Gas Section at (916) 322-6349 or via email at OilandGas@arb.ca.gov .
Elizabeth Scheehle, Chief
Oil and Gas and Greenhouse Gas
Industrial Strategies Division
cc: Joelle Howe
Air Pollution Specialist
Oil and Gas Section