Aliso Canyon senate bill pulled from hearing

Henry Stern, Feel The Stern,
State Sen. Henry Stern. Courtesy photo

State Senator Henry Stern’s bill to stop natural gas injections from being resumed at Aliso Canyon, site of the massive natural gas leak in 2015, was not heard as scheduled Tuesday morning.

The Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee Chair Senator Ben Hueso pulled Senate Bill 57 from the agenda, therefore preventing it from moving forward by refusing to hear or vote on it.

“Today’s roadblock on SB 57 won’t stop us,” Stern wrote on Facebook. “Thank you to Senator Dianne Feinstein, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Congressman Brad Sherman ​and Mayor Eric Garcetti for defending clean air and public safety. I’m sorry to all of our Porter Ranch families who drove so far to seek a vote on SB 57. Don’t lose heart and keep speaking truth to power (and gas).”

Hueso, who opposed the bill, removed it from the agenda at about 9:30 p.m. Monday night. Between 20 and 30 Aliso Canyon residents went to attend the hearing Tuesday morning in Sacramento to give their testimonies on the impact of the gas leaks, according to Stern’s office.

“We’ve fought this and we’ve asked our friends to fight this with us,” community member Jennifer Crown said to the committee. “A lot of people couldn’t fight this fight, couldn’t take off work, couldn’t take off school and we wanted to be here. That’s how strong we felt about this. It’s very important and dear to our hearts, so that’s why we came here to have this pass as is because this is our health, we live this every day.”

If it had been approved, the bill would have required the California Public Utilities Commission and the Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources to complete an analysis to determine the cause of the Aliso Canyon leak before considering whether or not to lift the moratorium on natural gas injections.

Chief John Todd of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, EES Consulting Engineering Management Services Project Manager Ted Light and California Environmental Justice Alliance Policy Advocate Diana Vazquez all testified at the hearing.

The bill had bi-partisan support from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, State Senators Bob Hertzberg and Scott Wilk, Assemblyman Dante Acosta, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Los Angeles’ Mayor Eric Garcetti and the L.A. City Council.

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