LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Sen. Dianne Feinstein has announced her support for a state bill that would stop the re-opening of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility until the root cause of a massive leak that occurred there is determined.
“I believe it is important for state regulators and the public to be fully aware of what caused the disastrous natural gas leak last year before proceeding to determine whether the facility is safe to reopen,” Feinstein wrote in a letter to state Sen. Henry Stern, who co-authored SB 57, which would continue a moratorium on gas injections and withdrawals at the Southern California Gas facility until an independent study determines the cause of the leak.
A four-month gas leak at the Porter Ranch facility from October 2015 to February 2016 spewed 109,000 metric tons of methane into the air and displaced thousands of residents.
Officials with the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources and the California Public Utilities Commission have recommended that gas injections resume but at reduced amounts and lower pressure levels than those requested by SoCalGas.
State regulators held two public meetings last week on a proposal to allow the utility to resume injecting natural gas at Aliso, and one of the meetings was cut short due to shouting by hundreds of San Fernando Valley residents who want to stop the re-opening.
“While well-intentioned, SB 57 does not enhance safety at Aliso Canyon. Instead, it needlessly puts more than 20 million people, thousands of businesses, and critical facilities, like electric generators, refineries, universities, and hospitals, at risk of natural gas and electricity interruption,” SoCalGas said in a statement on Feb. 3.