The Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility — the same facility responsible for releasing 109,000 metric tons of methane in what was the single biggest gas leak in our nation’s history — has been cleared to reopen. That’s the word according to the Los Angeles Times.
“L.A. County had been granted a temporary restraining order that would have halted the reopening,” according to paper’s Saturday edition. “But a judge ordered the stay lifted … after [Southern California Gas Co., the owner of the facility] filed a motion opposing the stay.
“Chris Gilbride, a spokesman for Southern California Gas, said the Aliso Canyon facility has been deemed safe to operate by state regulators and the courts. He said the agency has made extensive upgrades to its infrastructure, technology and safety practices.”
But try telling that to the hundreds of families whose Porter Ranch, California homes were evacuated because of the gas leak. Many of those residents complained of headaches, nosebleeds and nausea back in late 2015, when the leak drove them from their homes. More than a year later, a physician reported seeing a pattern of alarming health symptoms, including abnormal pulmonary functions and low red blood cell counts, among patients from the area.
“The reopening of the facility is highly troubling and irresponsible,” wrote L.A. County in the suit it filed against state regulators to stop the facility from resuming operations. “This is a regulator rushing to approve reopening without completing necessary investigations and risking public health.”
In February 2017, Southern California Gas Co. paid the South Coast Air Quality Management District $8.5 million to settle a separate suit filed over the leak.
“Now … Southern California Gas Co. can continue to prepare to inject natural gas again at the facility,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
Click here to read the complete LA Times article.