Groups demand Barger force shutdown of Aliso Canyon gas site

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Residents of Aliso Canyon are planning to call on Supervisor Kathryn Barger to insist the governor shuts down the natural gas wells in the area, more than two years after the wells were the site of the largest natural gas leak in American history.

Save Porter Ranch, SEIU Local 721 and UNITE HERE Local 11 are among the groups that are expected to present a letter to Barger calling for the shut down of the wells as well as make public comment during the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.

“It’s time for Supervisor Barger to do more on Aliso Canyon,” said Alexandra Nagy, senior organizer of Food and Water Watch. It’s Gov. Brown’s last year in office, and his vague promises to shut down Aliso Canyon in 10 years worry thousands who are still getting sick from daily toxins emitted from the field. Supervisor Barger agrees that Aliso Canyon is too dangerous, residents are too sick and the facility isn’t needed for energy reliability. It’s time for her to call on Governor Brown to decommission the facility before he leaves office instead of letting him pass the buck.”

Tony Bell, a spokesman for Barger, said she has worked with a number of groups, including Save Porter Ranch, on ways to address Aliso Canyon.

“Supervisor Barger has been at the forefront at holding the Public Utilities Commission and the gas company responsible,” he said.

The call for the shutdown comes about two months after air quality managers issued a violation notice to Southern California Gas Company in connection with a second leak at Aliso Canyon.

The second leak took place Dec. 18 and lasted 50 minutes, but the South Coast Air Quality Management District received 15 complaints from residents. The air quality district said the gas company did not notify officials nor the quality until more than two hours after the leak started.

The air quality management district said a methane monitor at the Aliso Canyon site measured a peak concentration of 66 parts per million during the leak, more than 30 times the typical background methane concentration of 2 parts per million.

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