Smith, Stern to hold Aliso Canyon oversight hearing

Newhall School District Board Member Christy Smith, speaking at the podium is joined by concerned citizens, Congressman Brad Sherman, left, and California State Senator Henry Stern, right, at the one-year anniversary press conference of the Aliso Canyon blowout held at the entrance of the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility in Porter Ranch on Wednesday, October 24, 2018. Dan Watson/The Signal

Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, and Sen. Henry Stern, D-Canoga Park, are inviting residents to a joint oversight hearing in Porter Ranch on Tuesday, when the two will join state officials for a discussion about the effects of the gas leak that struck Aliso Canyon and was discovered by Southern California Gas Co. on Oct. 23, 2015.

In light of the Aliso Canyon root cause analysis that was released earlier this year in May, Stern and Smith agreed to hold the hearing “to discuss and receive public input on SoCalGas’s failure to anticipate foreseeable risks and the emergency response conducted in the wake of the blowout,” according to a news release.

The root cause analysis was conducted by Blade Energy Partners and found that proper modeling, which SoCalGas did not conduct until its seventh attempt to control the well, could have successfully controlled the well as early as November 2015, the release states, adding: “The report also highlights significant evidence that SoCalGas was aware of corrosion issues at the facility for decades prior.” 

The release said reports have found that the Aliso Canyon blowout and subsequent leaks cost the state $1 billion, and a 1988 SoCalGas interoffice memo suggested the need to inspect 20 wells that were originally completed in the 1940s and 1950s, including the well that ruptured in the 2015 leak — SS-25. 

“Seven wells were inspected within a two-year window and five showed significant external corrosion — but the remaining 13, including SS-25, were not examined,” the news release states. 

The hearing is set to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug.  6, and will be held at Porter Ranch Community School, located at 12450 Mason Ave. in Porter Ranch.

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