End of Leak in Sight, Next Chapter in Aliso Canyon Disaster Response Begins

Attention Shifting to Fair Restitution, Future Rules and Ongoing National Risk

February 11, 2016
Lauren Whittenberg, (512) 691-3437, lwhittenberg@edf.org

(LOS ANGELES – February 11, 2016) Reports that Southern California Gas Company has temporarily stemmed the massive methane leak at the Aliso Canyon storage facility mean attention now shifts to the sweeping legal and political ramifications of the disaster. While official measurements are still being tallied, EDF estimates that since the problem was first detected last October 23, at least 95,000 metric tons of potent, climate-forcing methane have escaped – the same 20-year climate impact as burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline.

“Now comes the critical process of making sure this doesn’t happen again and holding the company accountable,” said Tim O’Connor, California Oil & Gas Director at Environmental Defense Fund. “SoCalGas can’t respond with its checkbook alone. It has to take care of the neighbors it has harmed and take enough methane out of the air to make up for the damage this leak has caused.

“This disaster is what happens when aging infrastructure meets lax oversight, and it’s just one example of a problem that is plaguing the oil and gas industry across the country. We need comprehensive national action to hold industry accountable for reducing these emissions and keeping disasters like this from happening again in the future.

“Aliso Canyon has revealed gaping holes in our regulatory safety net. But it’s also done an enormous amount to improve public understanding, and put tremendous new momentum behind efforts to fix the problem.”

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