On the Fourth Anniversary of Aliso Canyon Gas Blowout, Congressman Sherman Continues to Push for Closing the Facility
Sherman Oaks, CA – On the fourth anniversary of the Aliso Canyon gas blowout, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) continues to push for the closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility and to ensure that SoCal Gas is held responsible for their actions.
“SoCal Gas and the California Public Utilities Commission must immediately develop and implement a plan to shut down the Aliso Canyon facility, while maintaining reliable service. SoCal Gas has had four years to develop such a plan, and they will not act unless required to do so,” said Congressman Sherman.
On October 11th, the Saddleridge fire forced the mandatory evacuation of thousands of residents and burned at the Aliso Canyon natural gas facility property, again raising serious concerns about the safety of the site of the 2015 blowout which was the largest methane leak in history.
“The Saddleridge fire was another painful reminder of the vulnerability of our community, whose residents have repeatedly been displaced in recent years by fires and the gas blowout. We may not be able to stop all that Mother Nature has in store for us, but we can reduce risk by decommissioning the Aliso Canyon storage facility.”
Sherman has been a staunch advocate for stronger federal regulation of natural gas storage facilities, since the blowout.
In 2015, Sherman – who lives in Porter Ranch – met personally with then-President Barack Obama regarding the Aliso Canyon blowout and received a commitment that the federal government would improve safety regulations for natural gas storage facilities.
In December 2016, the relevant federal agency, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), for the first time issued regulations on Aliso Canyon and similar facilities nationwide.
In June 2017, the Trump administration bowed to the demands of the oil and gas industry and withdrew those regulations. Sherman sent a letter to Howard Elliott, Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) urging him to make the rules stronger, rather than failing to implement them.
In August 2018, Sherman again sent a letter to Administrator Elliott, demanding that federal standards be restored and enforced, as required by law.
Sherman said: “Our community lived through the largest methane leak in history, and residents continue to experience severe health issues years after the Aliso Canyon blowout was capped. We need stronger protections for communities like ours, and the Trump Administration should – at a minimum – restore the natural gas storage safety regulations put in place by the Obama Administration.”
- Click here for Sherman’s letter on September 9, 2019, to the California Public Utilities Commission.
- Click here for Sherman’s letter on August 17, 2018, to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
- Click here for Sherman’s letter on October 23, 2017, to PHMSA.
- Click here for details of Sherman’s proposed safety improvements regulations.
- Click here to see Sherman’s demand for a comprehensive health study.
Background: Sherman’s home was as close as any residence to the Aliso Canyon gas blowout. For nearly four months, the northern Los Angeles community of Porter Ranch suffered from the largest natural gas leak in U.S. history. An estimated 7,000 to more than 8,000 families were displaced from their homes and forced to relocate. Two schools in the area were closed for the duration of the school year, and thousands experienced health symptoms.