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PRNC Members Work with Senator Pavley
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Pavley Meeting
 
By Sean O'Rourke
 
The Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council (PRNC) Officers Paula Cracium, Pat Pope, and Sean O'Rourke met with Senator Fran Pavley in her Calabasas Office regarding the continuing gas leak above Porter Ranch on Monday, December 21, 2015.  Members of her staff joined the meeting in person and via conference call from Sacramento. At the request of the PRNC, members of Governor Brown's staff and other state officials were on the call as well.
 
Senator Pavley led the meeting in Calabasas with members of her staff.  Wade Crowfoot, from the Governor's Office was the focal point on the phone from Sacramento.   Jason Marshall, from the California Department of Conservation also participated in the meeting in Calabasas.
 
The leaking SoCal Gas well in Aliso Canyon is known as SS-25.  The Governor's office has three top priorities at this point:
  • Stop the leak
  • Insure public health and safety
  • Hold SoCal Gas responsible for any violations
Wade said that although state officials have been working on the problem since the beginning, they need to do a better job communicating their actions with the public. They have had an active website since October.
 
So far, the State of California has not declared a State of Emergency.  Usually a State of Emergency is declared to free-up state funds, to reimburse local government for their expenses, and to short-cut procedures and reduce red tape. 
 
The State of California expects that SoCal Gas will be paying for all responsible costs as a result of the leak. Also, executives in the various state departments believe they have the power to compel the SoCal Gas to comply with state orders without declaring a State of Emergency at this time.
 
Governor Brown sent a letter to SoCal Gas on December 18, 2015 informing them that he has directed state agencies to compel SoCal Gas to reduce pressure in the well more quickly.  Reducing the volume of gas in the well will reduce the pressure in the well and help slow the leak. The Governor's letter also informed SoCal Gas that he has requested that the California Attorney General coordinate the investigation of the leak by state agencies.
 
As always with this leak, the numbers and quantities surrounding the amount of gas in the facility and leaking out of the facility seem to be a moving target.  As of December 21, 2015 there are 58 Billion Cubic Feet of gas stored in the whole facility.  SoCal Gas can remove 1 to 1.6 Billion Cubic Feet per day. The company is drawing down the gas to reduce the pressure and will continue over the next several weeks.
 
There are many state agencies involved. The combined efforts of the state is to make sure SoCal Gas kills the well and reduces the pressure in the entire facility, and prevent a reoccurrence.
 
The Division of Oil Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) will not allow any injection of gas into the well at this time.  When the facility was full, the gas was stored at 3,000 Pounds per Square Inch (PSI).  The Gas Company's goal is to get down to 1200 or 1000 PSI. To maximize the probability of successful well control as quickly as possible, the company may make more well killing attempts before the pressure is that low. Early attempts will take place if SoCal Gas and DOGGR conclude that they would not make the situation worse if the attempts fail.
 
SoCal Gas is concentrating the removal of gas from the area around SS-25.  They have reattached SS-25 to their withdrawal system.  In the short run that will lower the pressure in the area of SS-25.  Over time though, pressure in the whole field will equalize. 
 
There are about 20 wells at the site that were built in the 1950s. Those wells have the highest priority for a safety review.
 
The board members feel that the State is a more credible source of unbiased information than SoCal Gas.  The PRNC asked Mr. Crowfoot to have the State's Aliso Canyon website updated daily beginning on December 28.
 
The PRNC also asked the State Officials if they could verify the flow of methane depicted in the infrared videos that have been circulated, to see if the flow has accelerated or diminished.
 
The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is verifying the long-term effects of mercaptan exposure. 
 
The effect El Niño and large storms is not clear.  Methane is lighter than air and not water-soluble.  Rain's effects on mercaptan are not clear.  The state will provide information on the impacts of the coming rain on air quality on their web page: http://www.caloes.ca.gov/alisocanyon
 
Both Senator Pavley and PRNC President Paula Cracium will ask the County Supervisors to press the SoCal Gas for more rapid placement of resident's requiring rehousing.
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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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