Activists and community members gathered near the site of Southern California Gas Company’s (SoCalGas) storage facility at Aliso Canyon Tuesday, Aug. 22, to demand that Gov. Gavin Newsom keep his promise to shut it down. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will vote on SoCalGas’s application to increase storage capacity at Aliso Canyon on Aug. 31.
Attendees carried signs that said “Gov. Newsom, Shut Aliso Down” and “Keep Your Promise, Shut Aliso Canyon Down” and community leaders, including State Sen. Henry Stern and Asssemblymember Pilar Schiavo, gave remarks about the upcoming vote.
“SoCalGas has taken full advantage of Gov. Newsom’s inaction on shutting the notorious Aliso Canyon down,” said Andrea Vega, a southern California organizer for Food & Water Watch. “Understandably, there is growing concern among residents that the dangerous facility continues to endanger them and their loved ones. As long as Newsom fails to act, SoCalGas will continue to act with impunity and place their bottom line over public health.”
“For the health and safety of the children attending nearby schools and the tens of thousands of families living in the communities near the dangerous facility, the Aliso Moms Alliance stands firmly against the pending decision by the CPUC to dramatically increase the volume of gas stored at Aliso Canyon to nearly 100% capacity,” said Lori Aivazian, member of Aliso Moms Alliance. “We urge the CPUC to stand by its framework to shut down the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility by 2027 which is supported by former Gov. Brown, Gov. Newsom and numerous California State and Los Angeles County and city officials.”
This push comes in advance of applications from SoCalGas to increase storage limits on Aliso Canyon and begin a hydrogen pipeline project that would require the hydrogen to be blended with methane gas.
In October, it will be eight years since a well at SoCalGas’s Aliso Canyon storage facility ruptured, leaking 100,000 metric tons of methane gas containing benzene and formaldehyde into neighboring communities in the San Fernando Valley, causing the worst gas blowout in American history and putting the health and safety of the residents of the surrounding area at risk.
When he took office, Newsom ordered the CPUC to expedite the closure of the facility ahead of former Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed date of 2027.
Newsom’s administration and the CPUC have remained silent, even as 50+ organizations and local community members call on him to shut the facility down, including Save Porter Ranch, San Fernando Valley Climate Reality, Citizens’ Climate Lobby – LA West Chapter, Fossil Free California and SoCal350 San Fernando Valley Hub.