Aliso Canyon: Natural Gas Leak Another Unnecessary Disaster

Natural Gas - Aliso Cyn Protest

Read this:  Once again, a news story you need to search for when it should be unavoidable.  The rupture at Aliso Canyon natural gas storage site in Southern CA. “It’s the climate equivalent of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico: the rupture of a natural gas storage site in California that is spewing vast amounts of methane into the atmosphere and is likely to go unchecked for three months.”  The industries’ solution: make the story go away, then deal with the problem, maybe.  The leak occurred on 10-23-15, but we sure haven’t heard much about it.  Naturally, the resulting assumption ends up being that it must not have been much of a problem. However, the reality of this breach, near Porter Ranch in the San Fernando Valley is not small.  It’s consequences are alarming:

  1. It “has forced the relocation of hundreds of families, who complained of headaches, nosebleeds and nausea from the rotten-egg smell of the odorant added to the gas to aid in leak detection.”
  2. The leak “now accounts for at least a quarter of California’s emissions of methane – a far more powerful climate-altering gas than carbon dioxide.”
  3. “Already, the ruptured storage facility has released well over the equivalent of 800,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide – about the same amount that would be generated by driving 160,000 cars for a year, according to the California Air Resources Board.”
  4. “Methane is 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a climate-altering gas, in the short-term.”  And this one is big

“The time lag and the scale of the breach brought immediate comparisons to BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed 11, caused lasting environmental damage to the marine wildlife and environment, and took three months to bring under control.”  Excuses abound regarding the difficulty of plugging the leak as well as determining any realistic timetable.  Consensus is “plugging the well won’t be quick.”  This kind of reckless use of our environment by the fossil fuels industry must stop and coverage of these problems must be diligent and accurate.  We have to make it so this industry cannot afford to chance these mistakes and that doesn’t even deal with the main problem, climate change.  Read the entire article from The Guardian, by Suzanne Goldenberg for more details.


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