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PRNC Calls For Stronger AQMD Measures to Insure Safety of Porter Ranch

The AQMD Hearing regarding the gas leak began with a packed house in the Granada Hills Charter High School gym after a demonstration in the parking lot called for shutting down the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility. The hearing went on all day as residents, government officials, and interested parties testified about their illnesses and damage done to the community.

The Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council was ably represented by Board Member Becky Leveque who described the gas leak as “a devastating blow to our tight knit community.” She spoke of the huge emotional adjustment from having to move out of our homes and applauded the efforts of Food and Water Watch and Save Porter Ranch. “We just want our community back with assurance we live in a safe place,” she emphasized along with a list of next steps including infrared camera monitoring, better leak detection, identifying the right level of gas pressure for the fields to operate safely, and determining whether the new compressors should be put on hold.

Board Member Cheri Derohanian also testified regarding the unacceptable delay between the identification of the leak and notification to the school, during which time her middle school daughter who has asthma, was required to run the mile at the Porter Ranch Community School.

The PRNC was pleased to see County Supervisor Antonovich speak to the age of the leaking well and express concern about the lack of oversight on inspections. He cited “incestuous relationships” among regulatory agencies. When the safety valve broke in 1979, agencies determined this was not a critical well. Little did they know! He proclaimed “agencies that regulate the Gas Company have failed.”

Council member Mitchell Englander challenged SoCal Gas observing that they have been responsive to what has been asked of them, but their position has largely been reactive. They have not been prepared with a plan.

Many other PRNC Board Members were present for the hearing and have been working hard to represent the community to the press and government agencies to build a safer Porter Ranch and ultimately to make a difference in how SoCal Gas operates.

The purpose of the meeting was for the AQMD to seek approval from the hearing board for a stipulated order for abatement, which SoCal Gas has agreed to and indicated was eager to implement. The requirements include:
1.    Stop the leak. Continuously monitor the facility with infrared cameras.
2.    Implement a plan to capture and dispose of natural gas that is leaking from the well. (Note: we believe this includes the plan to capture and incinerate the gas)
3.    Stop all gas injections into the well.
4.    Withdraw the maximum amount of gas from the facility.
5.    SoCal Gas shall provide the AQMD with data on the amount of natural gas injected through each of its 115 wells on a daily basis.
6.    SoCal Gas shall provide the AQMD with data on the amount of natural gas withdrawn from each of its 115 wells on a daily basis, not including the amount lost to the leak.
7.    SoCal Gas to provide the AQMD any relevant data necessary to calculate the amount of gas lost during the leak.
8.    SoCal Gas to submit for approval an enhanced leak detection and reporting program, prioritizing wells that may require repair or maintenance:
a.    Guidelines and procedure for inspecting all wells in the facility within two years.
b.    Frequency of inspection & maintenance.
c.    Qualifications, requirements and training of individuals inspecting the wells.
d.    Monitoring and emissions measurements during well inspections.
e.    Records of wells taken out of service or installed.
f.    Records of well breakdowns.
g.    Records of well inspection and maintenance reports.
h.    Daily use of infrared cameras or equivalent technology to monitor the facility.
i.    Make available records of ongoing physical integrity well inspections.
9.    Fund a continuous air monitoring program for the AQMD with a methane monitoring network at the facility.
10.    Fund a health study on the impacts of the methane, odorants and byproducts.
11.    Submit an application for the use of odor suppressants.
12.    The AQMD my petition the Hearing Board to allow SoCal Gas to install and operate equipment prior to obtaining a permit, if the equipment will reduce or mitigate odors.
13.    Comply with proposition 65 notice requirements.
14.    SoCal Gas will provide the AQMD with complaint data.

Read the entire AQMD Stipulation Document

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The Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council is an organization that is officially certified by the City of Los Angeles to increase our influence with City lawmakers and departments to improve our community.

The PRNC came about as a result of Los Angeles City Charter Reform and interested stakeholders in our community. The Board is elected by stakeholders and holds monthly meetings, usually on the first Wednesday of the month. The agenda is emailed to those who subscribe (see the green box in the upper corner), on our website here and posted at 11280 Corbin Avenue, Northridge, CA 91326 on a bulletin board facing Corbin street.

The Board is comprised of volunteers who want to help you make Porter Ranch a better place to live, work and grow. We can't do it for you, but we can do it with you.

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