PORTER RANCH (CBSLA.com) — Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, and Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander toured the site of the natural gas leak at the Southern California Gas Co.’s Aliso Canyon Storage Facility in Porter Ranch Tuesday.

Sherman made no effort to conceal doubts that the storage facility can be made safe in an interview with KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO. Many safety valves had been removed from the 1950s-era pipes in 1979, and were never replaced, Sherman said.

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“I don’t think it can be allowed to reopen unless SoCal Gas meets the burden of proof of showing that this is the safest storage facility in the country. Obviously, that’s not the case now,” Sherman said.

Southern California Gas Co. first reported the leaking well Oct. 23, and since then an estimated 77 million kilograms of methane have been released. Communities near the site have been dealing with foul odors and nosebleeds, headaches, nausea and other short-term ailments. Pets have also displayed unusual behaviors and such ailments as nosebleeds.

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The Gas Co. announced Monday that it expects to stop the leak by late February, if not sooner, as work on its relief well project is proceeding ahead of schedule.

According to Englander, the equivalent of an amount of gas that would “fill the Empire State Building” is what is currently leaking out of the Aliso Canyon well “every day”.

The Gas Co. was not allowing reporters on the tour.

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