Senator Henry Stern has publicly accused the director of the California Public Utilities Commission’s Energy Division of secretly expanding the usage of Aliso Canyon without public notice or Commission approval. In a letter to Alice Stebbins, Executive Director of CPUC, Stern allegs Edward Rudolph granted Southern California Gas Company’ request for immediate and seemingly open use of the Aliso Canyon gas storage field. Stern raised concerns about ongoing seismic and fire risk and a lack of evidence provided that the faulty field was indeed being utilized as a last resort, in a letter to CPUC. The full letter can be viewed here. The Aliso Withdrawal protocol approved by the CPUC for this winter, states that the field can’t be used unless SoCalGas shows that all available and necessary efforts to reduce demand for natural gas have been taken and there is imminent risk to the grid without the use of Aliso. “Reopening Aliso Canyon in the first place was a highly risky decision that violates Chapter 14… for failure to complete a safety review that is comprehensive,” Stern wrote in his letter to Stebbins. An annual CPUC oversight hearing is scheduled to take place tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. held by the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee. A livestream of the hearing can be viewed here. The above information was obtained by The Signal via a news release obtained by the office of Henry Stern.