Tell Obama and the EPA: Stop the worst methane leak in history

• January 11, 2016
methane leak Porter Ranch Natural Gas

Aliso Canyon methane leak. Photo courtesy of Earthworks

Can you imagine if, during the three months of the Gulf Oil spill, President Obama hadn’t spoken about it, and hadn’t done anything to stop it?

Right now, the worst environmental catastrophe since BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill is underway in Los Angeles, but President Obama hasn’t gotten involved.

Since late October, an uncontrolled leak at SoCalGas’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in LA’s Porter Ranch neighborhood, has been spewing 50 tons per hour of the potent greenhouse gas methane.

Every day it continues is the climate equivalent of another 7 million cars on the road. But SoCalGas is saying it will be at least another two months until they can stop it.

Thousands of families have been relocated and Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency.

But the largest natural gas leak in history requires nothing less than the full mobilization of federal resources to do everything possible to stop it as soon as possible — and make sure nothing like this happens again.

This climate disaster highlights the deep contradiction at the heart of President Obama’s energy and climate policy: Simultaneously committing to fight climate change, while overseeing a massive expansion — and lax regulation of — fracking and natural gas.

Methane is 86 times more potent in our atmosphere over 20 years than carbon dioxide. While natural gas generates electricity with lower carbon emissions than coal, the massive leakage of unburned methane straight into the atmosphere cancels out those climate benefits — and could make gas even worse than coal at hastening global warming.

Regulation of the industry has been pitiful. Stunningly, the Aliso Canyon storage facility — the second largest in the nation — hasn’t had a safety valve in place since 1979, and in fact was not required to by law.

And while the Obama administration is releasing rules to cut down on methane leaks from new sources, existing facilities are, incredibly, not covered by the rules.

This continuing climate catastrophe must be halted as soon as possible, but it is not a mere isolated incident. It is the inevitable result of failed regulations, and the continued promotion of fossil fuels that are incompatible with fighting climate change.

Unless we move away from fossil fuels, disasters like this are destined to continue.

During the Gulf oil spill, President Obama said “the tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now.”

That was true then and is true now as Aliso Canyon continues its apocalyptic eruption. President Obama is running out of time to heed his own words.

Sign the CREDO Action petition to tell President Obama and the EPA: Stop the Porter Ranch gas leak and make sure this never happens again.

Sign the petition

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About the Author

TckTckTck is the online hub for the Global Call for Climate Action. The GCCA represents an unprecedented alliance of more than 400 nonprofit organizations from around the world. Our shared mission is to mobilize civil society and galvanize public support to ensure a safe climate future for people and nature, to promote the low-carbon transition of our economies, and to accelerate the adaptation efforts in communities already affected by climate change.

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