The California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) confirmed February 18 that the well that was leaking methane at the Southern California Gas Co.
The company also faces four criminal charges from the L.A. County district attorney’s office for failing to report the release of hazardous materials and discharging air contaminants.
“It is unconscionable that these regulators are putting people at risk while giving companies a pass. The last time Aliso Canyon was inspected by the PUC was the last time Jerry Brown was governor”, said Kelsey Baker, one of the activists at the PUC headquarters.
Meanwhile, the City of Los Angeles will open a community resources office in the Chatsworth area today to assist residents returning to their homes.
The company’s spokesman Mike Mirzahi said in a news conference after the hearing that it made prompt notifications to state regulators after discovering the leak on October 23 in the upscale Porter Ranch community in Los Angeles.
Now that the leak has been capped, thousands of occupants of Porter Ranch who had been relocated will no longer be receiving relocation support from the gas utility. The massive gas leak that spewed uncontrollably for almost four months drove thousands of Los Angeles residents to pack up and leave their homes, while others rode it out.
The company said last Friday that a relief well had done its job and halted the flow of natural gas.
The escaping gas at the Aliso Canyon storage field accounted for a fifth of all methane emissions – an extremely potent greenhouse gas – across the entire state of California.
Prosecutors allege the gas company didn’t notify authorities immediately after it learned of the leak.
The leakage, which occurred from an underground gas storage reservoir in Aliso Canyon, has emitted critical amounts of methane, leading to the evacuation of over 4,000 families in the northwest San Fernando Valley.
Moniz has not provided any details on potential reforms in the field, but said that “looking at and reducing dramatically methane leaks across the entire system from production to distribution” was a priority.
He noted, however, that testing and air monitoring will continue in the area. Meanwhile, Matt Pakucko, president of the community group Save Porter Ranch, said residents are scared to go home because some are still experiencing health concerns.
Existing roads, bridges, ports, water systems, and other infrastructure need an estimated $1.6 trillion in upgrades, according to a 2010 report from the Department of Homeland Security, while the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) says that infrastructure failures could cost the USA $3.1 trillion by 2020.