The LA County DPH released a new report: Public Health and Safety Risks of Oil and Gas Facilities in Los Angeles County. In the report they look at environmental and public health concerns related to oil and gas facilities and operations. They conclude the following:
Protect Playa Now is so appreciative of the area neighborhood councils that have been proactive by sending letters to the city asking to investigate the Playa del Rey natural gas storage facility and determine what risks it poses to our people and our economy. Thank you to all the council members that prioritize their constituents public health and economic concerns over the profit margins of SoCalGas and Sempra Energy. A big shout out to the Brentwood Community Council, Del Rey Neighborhood Council, Mar Vista Community Council, Venice Neighborhood Council, and West LA-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
The Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) has released it's new underground gas storage rules that would regulate methane storage in California. The revised rule posted on 2/12 and they have provided the public 15 days to offer comment. You can review the new rules HERE. The public has until 5 PM on February 27, 2018 to provide comment.
Any person who wishes to submit comments regarding the revision to the proposed text of the regulations or regarding the document added to the rulemaking record may do so by submitting written comments no later than 5:00 p.m. on February 27, 2018.
FAX: (916) 324-0948
Mail: Department of Conservation
ATTN: Underground Gas Storage Regulations
801 K Street, MS 24-02
Sacramento, CA 95814
The DOI plans on eliminating regulations on methane. Methane is 25 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide as a greenhouse gas. The regulations put in place in 2016 would have had the equivalent impact of taking almost 1 million cars off the road on our national emissions. However, in another handout to the fossil fuel industry the current administration is looking to pull back those regulations at the expense of public health, the emerging green energy economy and environmental sustainability. DOI is expected to publish new guidelines soon that will trigger a 60 day comment period.
Los Angeles has a public health problem directly tied up with our gas infrastructure. The latest challenge to our public health lies deep in a lengthy Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve (DEIR). This restoration project could cost up to 180 million dollars and would allow SoCalGas to drill new gas wells as it closes others. In short, the project would fund modernizing of the Playa del Rey Gas Storage equipment for new wells and, very likely, slant drilling. This large capital improvement project indicates that SoCalGas is not interested in shutting down the facility anytime soon despite the city’s declaration to move to 100% renewables.
The location specified for moving the drilling mechanisms is up against the bluffs in Playa del Rey. Slant drilling would allow the gas to be stored horizontally across the wetlands. The documents indicate the size of the gas storage field will be the same. SoCalGas’ history of violations is concerning. The Aliso Canyon blowout was the largest natural gas disaster in US history. SoCalGas received ten violations from SCAQMD in 2017 alone, Playa del Rey received two and Aliso Canyon received three violations, including a nuisance violation, despite only operating for four months in 2017. Given these violations and other evidence of failure, the public has little faith that SoCalGas will be able to curb dangerous leaks or prevent another blow out.
While language on pages 1-25 and 1-26 of the DEIR requires local and state permits to include various city agencies (like Building & Safety and Public Works), there is no indication that the City of LA would need to require permits for slant drilling and modernization of equipment for drilling. No public money should go towards subsidizing a multi-billion dollar company. Residents must not pay for the roads and the upkeep to provide twenty-four hour access for SoCalGas to update a facility that will keep poisoning our communities. Los Angeles should be investing in energy infrastructure for the future and not spend millions on outdated infrastructure of the past.
The Playa del Rey Gas Storage Facility is older than the Aliso Canyon facility, which continues to leak and cause chronic health problems for the beleaguered residents of Porter Ranch. There is no need to continue exposing our densely populated community to benzene, hydrofluoric acid, and other toxins. If the five-mile evacuation radius around Aliso Canyon is used as a reference point for our community, a half million people will have to be evacuated when there is a blow out in the SoCalGas Playa del Rey Gas Storage Facility, and it will hurt thousands of businesses, including LAX.
At a time when residents are seeking the closure of the dangerous Playa del Rey gas facility and a fast transition to 100% clean renewable energy, SoCalGas is attempting to erect new wells and roads with public funding.
Please make a comment on the DEIR at this address. Public comments are due by February 5, 2018. BWERcomments@wildlife.ca.gov
Protect Playa Now
CCST released its comprehensive report on natural gas storage facilities in the state of California. CCST was tasked with answering 3 major questions:
• Key Question 1: What risks do California’s underground gas storage facilities pose to health, safety, environment and infrastructure?
• Key Question 2: Does California need underground gas storage to provide for energy reliability through 2020?
• Key Question 3: How will implementation of California’s climate policies change the need for underground gas storage in the future?
Though their conclusions are mixed about the need and the future of natural gas storage in California it does acknowledge a number of troubling details:
1. We have absolutely know data or reliable idea of how these facilities will react to natural disaster like earthquakes.
2. Having these facilities near large population centers greatly increase the risk and potential hazards impact.
Both of these facts are extremely troubling seeing the Playa del Rey facility has around a half a million people living within 5 miles of the facility and the facility is surrounded by fault lines some within 2 miles of the facility. This report does little to make communities living near these facilities feel any safer. You can read the full report here.
Just days after New York City decided to sue and divest from large oil companies, Mike Bonin of CD 11 and Paul Koretz of CD 5 introduced a motion today as a first step in the process of holding big oil responsible for the devastating and expensive effects of climate change. The motion requests the City Attorney report filing options back to the council. Finally, after years of the fossil fuel industry manipulating our economy for their own self interest, the public sector is finally starting to hold them accountable. They've been profiting at our expense for years now its time for them to pay the piper. Thank you council members Bonin and Koretz this is a great first step.
Mitch Englander is no stranger to SoCal Gas and their penchant behavior of poisoning the people of Los Angeles. He evicerates the SoCal Gas representative response to the Mercaptan leak on November 29, 2018. We need more of this type of representation from our politicians holding companies accountable and demanding they be better. See the full motion hearing below.
There was a mercaptan leak in Rancho Park on 11/29. Mercaptan is a toxic chemical used to odorize methane (natural gas) as in its natural form methane is odorless. Adding an odorant is a safety measure so it can alert the public to a leak. SoCalGas claims mercaptan is non-toxic, but there are many studies that indicate otherwise.
After that leak, an emergency motion was introduced and passed on 12/05 to have the petroleum administrator and SoCalGas report on where mercaptan is stored throughout the city and how much of it is stored. The leak that sickened people within a 4-mile radius on 11/29 was only one to two gallons. So, if we have barrels of that chemical stored throughout the city, we need to know. The report back will be at the beginning of February
It looks like the leak had been ongoing on a smaller scale, but SoCalGas failed to notify any authority. There may be legal action taken by SCAQMD against SoCalGas based on this incident.
Mercaptan can have devastating effects on public health just ask the people of Eight Mile, Alabama. Its a by product of our fossil fuel economy and it's elimination will be another benefit when we SHUT IT ALL DOWN!!!!
On November 8th our coalition partner Ballona Institute mobilized community members to oppose the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) at a public hearing. The proposed project would use millions of dollars in public money to bulldoze the Ballona Wetlands and create a brand new tidal wetland on the site. Historical evidence suggests the Ballona Wetlands was never a tidal wetland but freshwater wetland whose water level fluctuated with the seasons. This "restoration" project is not restoration, but new development project to create a completely new place more concerned about human utilization than wildlife protection. The project is supported by SoCal Gas and "environmental" groups Bay Foundation, Heal the Bay, LA Waterkeepers and Friends of Ballona. All the environmental groups supporting the project are all benefactors of donations from SoCal Gas. We support Ballona Institute in declaring the only acceptable option in the DEIR is option 4: NO ACTION. CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) are receiving public comment until February 5, 2018. Please let them know you don't want to see Ballona Bulldozed and you don't want public money going to SoCal Gas. You can find the DEIR here. You can leave public comment with CDFW and ACE:
CDFW: Richard Brody, CDFW
c/o ESA (jas)
550 Kearny Street, Suite 800
San Francisco, CA 94108
ACE: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Los Angeles District, Regulatory Division
ATTN: SPL-2010-01155 (Bonnie Rogers)
915 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 930
Los Angeles, CA 90017-3401
SoCal Gas canceled the open house today. Siting "comments" made by online groups threatening to disrupt the event. We had no disruptive actions planned unless you considered showing up and asking questions of SoCal Gas disruptive. Apparently they do. At least we know they're afraid of us and answering questions.
Food and Water Watch and Save Porter Ranch hosted a town hall focusing on the negative health impacts the Aliso Canyon facility has had on the surrounding community. Dr. Jeffrey Nordella reviews his findings after treating victims of the blowout. The PdR facility poses these same risks to our community.
At the August meeting of the Westchester/Playa Neighborhood Council concerned residents of Playa del Rey protested a letter the council the submission of a letter to the city council in support of the ongoing operation of the PdR natural gas storage facility. In response to the communities objections the letter was revised to encourage SoCal gas to host an open house with the community. Great job everyone involved.
Mike Bonin introduced a motion (17-0756) to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM). The motion is asking requesting the Petroleum Administrator, Dept of Building and Safety, LAFD and the City Attorny's office to investigate the PdR natural gas facility to make sure it is compliant with all regulatory agencies. Thank you Mike Bonin for looking into the operations of this dangerous facility.