The Huge Methane Leak in California Needs to be Burned Off to Save the Environment.

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An enormous volume of Methane, also called natural gas is spewing from a broken well at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility near an affluent neighborhood about twenty miles from Beverly Hills, California. More than 82,000 metric tons of methane are estimated to have already escaped the Aliso Canyon facility since Oct. 23, the day SoCalGas says the leak began.

Methane is an especially potent greenhouse gas -- one that carries 84 times the warming power of carbon dioxide after it is released, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. At the rate it is leaking, 2.3 percent of California’s carbon footprint is rising from Aliso Canyon, increasing the state's methane emissions by 21 percent, according to LA weekly.

If Jerry Brown believes in Climate Change and understands the environmental impact of this leak, he should call in the National Guard, evacuate the residents, and set the leaking well on fire. This would burn off the methane, turning it to carbon dioxide, which would have a much less impact on the greenhouse effect and make a dent in the rate of future climate change.

I guess, it's not really an issue worth considering. Currently, the gas is not visible to the naked eye. Lighting it on fire would cause a huge explosion right next to hundreds of expensive homes and the Northridge Earthquake Fault, and light a huge fire that would be visible from Los Angeles for months.

Now that would make the news headlines. Currently, the leak is out of sight, and out of mind, as it has been since it started way back in October.

This isn't the only gas storage facility in the country and it isn't the first, nor will it be the last to experience massive leaks and even massive explosions.

I remember this one back in 1992:

"One Killed, 18 Injured in Texas Gas Explosion : Tragedy: An underground pipeline in the countryside bursts into flames, shaking the ground as far away as 100 miles. A boy, 6, dies."April 08, 1992

This week, Roger Schwecke, a top executive of the So Cal Gas Company, that owns and operates the leaking well told HuffPost:

“Our focus remains on quickly and safely stopping the leak and minimizing the impact to our neighbors in Porter Ranch," "SoCalGas reaffirms our prior commitment to mitigate the environmental impact of the actual amount of natural gas released from the leak.”

I wonder just what he means by his words "mitigate the environmental impact" ?

Of course they would never set it on fire. The resulting explosion, right next to the Northridge Earthquake Fault might have unintended consequences, but it would wake people up to the dangers associated with having all this fracking activity and underground gas storage facilities so close to where people live, work and raise their families.

Sacramento Dave's picture
Sacramento Dave
Nov. 27, 2010 9:46 am


SoCalGas has to sell off the gas to get it low enough to plug the leak. Just pumping it out and plugging the leak might prove negatively on their gas sales. Priorities priorities. First reports were in October. With 2,684 families of the northwest San Fernando Valley community awaiting relocation, the city wants a “special master” appointed to oversee the task, which is currently in the hands of Southern California Gas Co.

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DdC's picture
Mar. 22, 2012 12:39 am

The CEO of Southern California Gas needs to be put in jail. This is the only way that other CEO's will assure that accidents like this do not happen again. No amount of bad publicity or even fines work. Jail time will. What ever happened to the CEO of the Santa Barbara oil spill......Nothing. It would also help if the media named the leak after the CEO and used it in reporting. "Today the Dennis Arriola gas leak spewed 1 million cubic feet of methane into the atmosphere". CEO's need to be held responsible for poor safety and environmental damage.

Nov. 27, 2012 6:46 am

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Knew Its Well Was Leaking 24 Years Ago

That is a good thought. Except they already own the courts and prisons. I hear Exxon is still bartering over clean up liability. Last estimates they were down to paying 1 cent on the dollar. So tax payers get to pick up the 99 cents. While Palin is cheerleading the team drill baby drill. Cheney exempted Haliburton from the Clean Air and Water Acts for his hobby fracking. Now that he is off the job creating wars for billions. Banksters and cheaters, or is that redundant?

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Think of the message to the childrens...

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Come to think of it.
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DdC's picture
Mar. 22, 2012 12:39 am

Ddc, You should start a daily "News of the Day" post or something similar. I like it.

Nov. 27, 2012 6:46 am

"The Saddest Thing Is This Won't Be Breaking News"

Thom plus logo As the world burns, and more and more fossil fuels are being used every day planet-wide, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels passed 416 ppm this week at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. In the 300,000 years since the emergence of modern humans, carbon dioxide levels have never been this high.
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