UPDATE: Fracked Gas company knew its wells were failing a year before the Porter Canyon leak started. It's been six months since the leak began, and State and Federal officials are now suing SoCal gas as a result. But where's the EPA? Sign here to tell President Barack Obama's EPA to quit dragging their feet and PLUG ALL THE LEAKS!
Southern California Gas Co. knew its fracked gas storage wells were failing more than a year before the leak began at its Aliso Canyon unit on the outskirts of Los Angeles, and even warned state regulators of the risks.1 But because there are virtually no rules governing methane leaks for existing fracked gas infrastructure, they did nothing.
Now, there is more pressure on SoCal Gas than there is inside that leaking gas well as local and state officials demand accountability. Last week, the California Assembly grilled officials on what they knew and when. This week the local air pollution control agency and the California Attorney General (Kamala Harris, famous for taking on an #ExxonKnew investigation) sued the company on behalf of everyone in the state who, well, breathes.2 California's senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, have been outspoken in demanding a stronger federal role in plugging the fracking leaks. Even President Obama's administration got in on the action as the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued an advisory rule late yesterday .3
Here's the thing, none of those actions will stop the leak -- estimated by our friends at the Environmental Defense Fund, to now be at greater than 91 million metric tons of climate-wrecking fracked gas leaked.3 Nor will most of them do a thing to stop the next leak, which is absolutely sure to happen given that the EPA has still not issued rules to limit methane leaks from new or existing gas infrastructure. The EPA is the one agency with the power to protect us all from leaks like Porter Ranch, and it's about damn time they did so. Sign here if you agree and tell EPA to plug ALL the fracking leaks.
The strongest action so far from Obama's team has been yesterday when PHMSA issued an advisory and called on fracked gas infrastructure owners to "review their operating, maintenance and emergency response activities." But if you want to know just how weak these PHMSA rules are, just ask the spokespeople for the fracking and oil industry: The American Petroleum Institute (API), which praised the advisory saying, "It is these types of actions, not regulatory overreach, that serve the best interest of safety and economic growth.”3
If API is for it, you can be sure that these rules will do nothing to slow the pace of fracking leaks that pollute our climate, foul our air and devastate communities from coast to coast. It's really imperative that we make these changes NOW. In addition to the ongoing disaster at Porter Canyon, there's a massive build out of fracked gas infrastructure going on around the country -- so much so that some fracked gas companies have even begun to wonder if we're "overpiped" already with fracked gas infrastructure.4
But as long as they're making money, even a little, it's clear the frackers will just keep drilling, building and leaking with abandon. It's going to take sweeping action from Obama's team - like we've seen on reducing global warming pollution from power plants, or blocking coal leases on federal lands -- to make a dent. Join us today in calling for action from the EPA - RIGHT FRACKING NOW - by telling them to plug all the fracking leaks, starting with the Aliso Canyon facility.
Drew and the leak-pluggers at Environmental Action
1 - Phil McKenna, SoCal Gas Knew Aliso Canyon Wells Were Deteriorating a Year Before Leak, INSIDECLIMATE NEWS, January 28, 2016
2 - Phil McKenna, California Attorney General Sues Gas Company for Methane Leak, Federal Action Urged, INSIDECLIMATE NEWS, February 2, 2016
3 - Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Pipeline Safety: Safe Operations of Underground Storage Facilities for Natural Gas, February 2, 2016
4 - Kallanish Energy, Marcellus-Utica could soon be ‘overpiped’ February 1, 2016