Aliso Canyon reopens despite county efforts to keep it closed

Los Angeles County Seal.

Natural gas injections are once again permitted in Aliso Canyon despite various attempts from Los Angeles County.

Southern California Gas Company officially began operating in the Porter Ranch natural gas facility on Monday for the first time since December 2015 after completing required safety measures.

The California Public Utilities Commission’s directed SoCalGas to resume injections in order to maintain inventories of natural gas, the gas company said in a letter to Porter Ranch residents.

“State regulators have confirmed Aliso Canyon is safe to operate,” the letter read. “SoCalGas has worked diligently to meet, and in many cases, exceed the requirements of the State’s year-and-a-half long safety review.”

According to the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, SoCalGas has addressed any safety hazards.

“In support of continued safety, our operations at Aliso Canyon will be held to what regulators have called the most rigorous monitoring, inspection and safety requirements in the nation,” SoCalGas said.

Among the company’s protective actions moving forward, they will continue testing or abandon wells that are temporarily plugged, monitor all wells in real time, inspect each well four times a day, conduct daily infrared thermal imaging scans and continue operating the fence line methane monitoring system.

Furthering efforts to prevent injections from resuming, Los Angeles County filed a writ petition on Monday morning to emphasize their desire for a root cause analysis to be conducted before injections resume.

“I strongly believe that without a root-cause analysis, seismic risk assessments and a long-term energy reliability study, this facility – which jeopardized the health and safety of local families for months – should not be allowed to reopen,” Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement to The Signal.

The Court of Appeal approved a temporary hold on injections Friday but dissolved the hold Saturday.

“Saturday’s decision by the Court of Appeal to dissolve the temporary stay to block reinjection at the Aliso Canyon facility is an unfortunate setback for the community of Porter Ranch and the northwest San Fernando Valley,” Barger said.

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