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Disastrously Leaking Gas Facility Near Porter Ranch Will Have to Shut Down One of Its 111 Wells

An enormous leak at a Southern California Gas Company natural gas storage facility in Aliso Canyon has been belching tons of methane (literally) and some carcinogenic benzene into the air near the San Fernando Valley community of Porter Ranch for more than three months now—sickening residents and requiring thousands to relocate—and the half dozen or so attempts to plug the leak have only made things worse (there's now a crater nearby). So it's not all that shocking that, once the leak is finally stopped—which could be in a few weeks, but may be longer—the state regulators of the South Coast Air Quality Management District want that well shut down for good, NPR reports.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District voted over the weekend on a suite of restrictions that include shutting the leaky well down and sealing it, monitoring the leaking well with an infrared camera for a month after it's closed down, paying for "continuous air monitoring" of the surrounding area, and funding an independent investigation looking into the effects of the leak on the health of the locals. The gas company will also have to adopt some preventative measures to stem the effects of any future leaks—they'll have to create a program for finding leaks and reporting them, for instance.

But this three-month saga started off with just one leaky well; there are 111 wells in all at the Aliso Canyon facility, and many residents believe the SCAQMD's new regulations are not quite good enough, says the LA Times. They're hoping to see the entire facility shut down. Previously, there had been calls to at least shut down all the old wells at Aliso Canyon until they could be individually inspected and determined to be safe; many of the operating wells at the facility are more than 50 years old. SoCal Gas filed a report with a state regulator in 2014 admitting all kinds of potential problems with its aging wells, including corrosion and even underground leaking in Aliso Canyon.
· California Regulators Order Company To Permanently Close Leaking Gas Well [NPR]
· Regulators order new steps to contain gas leak near Porter Ranch [LAT]
· Attempts to Plug the Enormous Porter Ranch Methane Leak Have Made Things Way Worse [Curbed LA]
· Watch Methane Gas Eerily Float Over the Hills Near the Huge Porter Ranch Gas Leak [Curbed LA]
· SoCal Gas Company Knew It Had Failing Pipes at Site of Massive Porter Ranch Gas Leak [Curbed LA]