PORTER RANCH (CBSLA.com) — Local and state air-quality regulators announced Tuesday a set of criteria for determining whether the air over Porter Ranch is safe again after the methane gas leak from the Aliso Canyon storage facility was capped.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District and California Air Resources Board said they will continue to monitor the air quality and use infrared cameras and other equipment to make sure the well is no longer spewing methane.
Both agencies said the methane levels they measured have significantly decreased since Feb. 11, when Southern California Gas Co. announced that it had temporarily plugged the 16-week leak. The company said it is in the process of permanently sealing the leaky well.
Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, who toured the natural gas storage facility Tuesday, said the environmental disaster is a sign of aging energy infrastructure that needs to be updated and calls for stronger gas storage regulations.
“Frankly, gas storage fields need a fresh look in terms of some of the regulatory requirements,” he said.
Rep. Brad Sherman said the environmental disaster serves as a wakeup call. “It’s a very good wakeup call. But the call, like any alarm clock, the closer you are to it, the likely you are to wake up. People in California hear that alarm.”
The president of Save Porter Ranch said he did not hear anything new in terms of saving his community. “Again, it’s another somewhere down the road, something might be done by someone, some regulation. Have a nice day,” Matt Pakucko said in frustration.