Two months in, Porter Ranch gas leak compared to BP Gulf oil spill

Los Angeles Daily News, By Susan Abram, December 19

The smell came from the canyons and drifted over their neighborhoods in late October, but most residents who live in the gated communities of Porter Ranch thought the northerly gusts of wind common to their area would sweep the stench of rotten eggs away.

Instead, the odor persisted.

It became a phantom that haunted them during their twilight jogs and on their morning walks on dusty horse trails. It was there in their dens where they watched TV and in bedrooms where their children slept. It was even there on the playgrounds of nearby elementary schools.

“It was smelling really bad,” said Susan Gorman-Chang, who along with her husband, George, has lived in Porter Ranch for more than 20 years. Now, the couple has chosen to leave the area. “Our neighbor called the fire department. It was that bad.”

The Southern California Gas Co. knew what was happening a day before the fire department was called. They knew methane was leaking from a 40-year-old well in Aliso Canyon above the Santa Susana Mountains, that it was spewing tons of gas into the air. Several days later, they informed residents through letters that the agency would plug the leak as fast as possible.

What will it take to fix the Porter Ranch leaking gas well?

Los Angeles Daily News, By Gregory J. Wilcox, December 19

The latest attempt by Southern California Gas Co. to kill its leaking well above Porter Ranch amounts to a deep shot in the dark.

All the repair crew has to do is hit a 7-inch target at the bottom of a shaft a mile and a half under Oat Mountain at the northern rim of the San Fernando Valley.

Undoubtedly, it’s a complicated situation, one industry expert said.

“I think when you look at the fact that some of the best well-kill operators in the nation have not been able to put a stop to it is testament to how abnormal and complex this leak is,” said Timothy O’Connor, director of oil and gas programs for the Environmental Defense Fund, and who used to inspect refineries and other facilities for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.


As of Friday evening, 2,009 families were in temporary housing, 884 were awaiting a decision on their request and the company was trying to contact 1,474 families seeking assistance.

So far 821 families have declined assistance and 93 have moved back to their homes, the company said.

The Washington Post: New infrared video reveals growing environmental disaster in L.A. gas leak
Truthout: Porter Ranch Methane Leak Does Not Bode Well for Climate
The Washington Post: Bad news: Scientists say we could be underestimating Arctic methane emissions

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