CA approves reopening Aliso Canyon gas storage facility

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California regulators on Wednesday cleared the way for natural gas injections to resume at the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility. (KABC)

California regulators on Wednesday cleared the way for natural gas injections to resume at the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility.

The California Public Utilities Commission and Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources approved Southern California Gas Company to resume operations under new regulations, according to a statement from the gas company.

Regulators said natural gas injections will not resume until new safety protocols are in place and the facility is safe to operate.

MORE: Porter Ranch residents push for Senate bill that would keep Aliso Canyon facility closed

The facility will be operated in a limited fashion, mainly to prevent energy shortages in the Southland.

"Aliso Canyon is an important part of Southern California's energy system, supporting the reliability of natural gas and electricity services for millions of people. SoCalGas has met -and in many cases, exceeded- the rigorous requirements of the state's comprehensive safety review," the statement read in part.

MORE: Porter Ranch residents claim new gas smell from storage field causing illness, rashes

New regulations will require that gas only flow through "newly installed and pressure-tested, inner steel tubing." In addition, the field will operate at a reduced pressure for added safety.

New safety guidelines include:

-Around-the-clock pressure monitoring of all wells in a 24-hour operations center

-Daily patrols to visually examine every well four times each day

-Daily scanning of each well, using infrared thermal imaging cameras that can detect leaks

-Enhanced training for employees and contractors

The facility has been largely out of service since the massive methane gas leak that occurred over a four-month period in 2015 and 2016.

MORE: Porter Ranch family sues SoCal Gas saying gas leak contributed to woman's death

The leak sickened nearby residents in Porter Ranch and forced thousands out of their homes.

Residents like Andrew Crowne have fought to keep the facility closed for good and are angry that operations will resume.

"Six hundred-plus days of no activity here means we don't need this facility," he said. "Every day that it continues to sit idle, it's more and more proof that Southern California has more than enough gas supply, more than enough electricity production for life to go on without this dangerous facility."
Related Topics:
lawscalifornia state senategas leaklegislationenvironmenthealthPorter RanchLos AngelesLos Angeles County
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