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 http://articles.latimes.com/1992-04-08/news/mn-608_1_underground-pipeline.
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.