Congressman Sherman's Proposed Regulation Changes of Natural Gas Storage Facilities
Background: Congressman Brad Sherman’s home was as close as any residence to the Aliso Canyon gas leak. For nearly four months, the northern Los Angeles community of Porter Ranch suffered from the largest natural gas leak in U.S. history. More than 7,000 families were displaced from their homes and forced to relocate. Two schools in the area were closed for the duration of the school year.
Sherman’s proposed changes include:
One of the tragic ironies of the Aliso Canyon leak is that the broken well, SS25, had previously been equipped with a subsurface safety valve that was removed in 1979 and never replaced.
Subsurface safety valves can protect against ruptures along the length of the well where valves located at the surface would be insufficient. Moreover, subsurface safety valves with “positive pressure” ensure that if there is any interruption of pressure (due to a malfunction, earthquake, power outage, etc.) subsurface safety valves will close. This would add an additional layer of protection to the current proposed tubing and casing requirements.
The state should require deep subsurface positive-pressure safety valves on all active wells at subsurface natural gas storage facilities.
Too Big To Fail
Additionally, there must be a commitment to address the overdependence upon very large natural gas storage facilities like Aliso Canyon, a problem endemic in the state’s natural gas storage system.
The residents of Porter Ranch, many of whom remain engaged in a legal battle with SoCalGas over injuries suffered during the blowout, are currently being told that injections must resume at Aliso Canyon or we run the risk of blackouts to the entire Los Aneles metropolitan area.
The state should mandate that when any major metropolitan area is reliant on one facility for over 25% of its power, that other energy sources, with priority given to renewable sources, be developed.
I recognize that neither of these recommendations can be implemented immediately. The following should be implemented by 2025, or another date that the Department of Conservation determines to be appropriate.
- Subsurface positive-pressure safety valves on all underground active wells at natural gas storage facilities.
- A state-wide too big to fail standard for natural gas storage in each of the state’s major metropolitan areas.
Then California residents would have proof that the State is doing everything in its power to ensure that a disaster like Aliso Canyon never happens again.