The LA County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to send a formal letter to the Governor at there January 7th meeting with two asks. First to fast track the shut down of Aliso Canyon, the SoCal Gas storage facility and site of the largest methane gas leak in U.S. history in which tens of thousands of Angelenos were poisoned by toxic chemicals and forced to flee there homes for months. Second, at the urging of County Supervisor Janice Hahn, the board included the request for a feasibility study to look at shutting down the PdR facility as well. Aliso Canyon unequivocally showed the grave threat these facilities pose to the public. The PdR facility's location with at least 500,000 ppl living within 5 miles and LAX's boundary only a mile from the facility, creates a massive risk to Los Angeles. A blowout at PdR has the potential to dwarf the horrors that played out at Aliso Canyon. Therefore, it is great to see local elected officials begin to take this threat seriously and begin standing up for the public over SoCal Gas' profits.
Of course SoCal Gas still has it defenders. Chief among them Cyndi Hench former president of PdR/Westchester Neighborhood Council and a longtime apologist for SoCal Gas. Hench was quoted in a recent Argonaut article using the same tired talking points of gas shortages despite the fact countless municipalities manage fine without storing these toxins in there communities including San Diego, CA. It also ignores the fact our city operated for nearly 2 years without Aliso Canyon, a facility 12 times the size of PdR. If LA could survive without the largest it certainly can survive without the smallest. This is an old threat SoCal Gas uses to scare local politicians into bowing to their will and fight any attempts to move away from gas. She then goes on to make an odd pivot arguing since the geology in the area is well suited for gas storage we must store gas there. I fail to understand the logic that just because something can be done there it must be done there. The only reason the PdR facility is there is not to provide the community with natural gas, it is to provide the large industrial customers like Chevron and SoCal Edison cheap gas so they can continue to exacerbate the climate crisis.
An LMU* professor also weighed in using the "bridge fuel" argument. This argument would hold more weight if in concert there was an argument to nationalize the this fossil fuel infrastructure. Otherwise it is just another SoCal Gas talking point to hinder any progress away from a fossil fuel economy. As long as SoCal Gas has a profit motive they will never stop advocating or scaring Los Angeles into maintaining these facilities. Further, they will also always be able to find ways to either manipulate or trick other members of the community to spew these talking points for them. Our government leaders need to stand up to these powerful interests and move us forward to cleaner energy future.
*LMU has received financial donations from SoCal Gas in the past