LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The state Senate gave final approval to a bill on Monday, May 2, to require Southern California Gas Co. officials and state regulators adhere to strict safety standards before being allowed to reopen the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility following a months-long gas leak.
The legislation, SB 380, calls for all 114 of the gas field’s wells to undergo testing developed by U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories scientists before SoCalGas can resume injections of natural gas into the storage facility.
“This bill holds state regulators and SoCal Gas to their promise that all 114 wells will be thoroughly investigated,” said Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, who co-authored the bill and represents communities affected by the gas leak.
The testing required under the bill follows standards set by Gov. Jerry Brown in an emergency order, and calls for the 114 wells to pass two complementary tests and four more structural integrity tests before they can be brought back online.
SoCalGas officials said they support the proposed legislation, which now moves to Brown’s desk for final approval.
“SoCalGas strongly supports efforts to enhance the safety of all natural gas storage facilities at both the state level as well as nationally, and we are supportive of forward-looking laws and regulations that adopt best practices for our storage facilities,” according to the company.
“We are actively working through the comprehensive safety review process that was ordered by (the state division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources) in March and we are working toward being able to operate the Aliso Canyon storage facility by late summer, subject to confirmation by the DOGGR supervisor and the executive director of the (California Public Utilities Commission).”
The Aliso Canyon gas leak was first detected Oct. 23. After a relief well was completed, authorities formally announced on Feb. 18 that the leak was sealed.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled last week that thousands of Porter Ranch-area residents who relocated due to the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak will be able to remain in temporary housing until at least June 7 at Southern California Gas Co.’s expense.
Residents who live near the gas storage facility have complained of nausea, stomach aches and respiratory irritation since the leak was plugged, which has prompted the county to begin door-to-door visits in hopes of understanding why symptoms were still being reported.