For nearly three months, a mind-boggling amount of methane gas has been leaking out of the ground near Porter Ranch, California, and for most of that time, there has been very little press coverage over what has been called one of the worst environmental disasters in history. So far, 80,000 tons of methane have spewed out of the natural gas pipeline under the ground, which has been likened to an active volcano. According to a spokesperson for the SoCalGas Company, every effort to plug the leak has completely failed.
The Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility, owned by SoCalGas, is the fifth biggest of its kind in U.S. But in late October, the company realized one of its wells was leaking. At first the company tried to close the leak using the conventional method of pouring fluids and mud down the well.
“We have tried that seven times and have been unsuccessful in trying to stop the leak,” said SoCalGas spokesman Michael Mizrahi. “I have to say more than likely it’s [because] the pressures that are coming up from the leaking well are so intense.”
The company says it doesn’t know exactly how much gas is escaping. But environmentalists estimate the effect is comparable to the tailpipes of up to seven million cars venting directly into the atmosphere every day.
The situation has gotten so bad that Governor Jerry Brown has finally declared a state of emergency. On Wednesday he issued a press release, which called for the company to try to capture some of the gas before they finish drilling a relief well (not sure how that’s possible), and to begin finding an alternative solution in case the well doesn’t work. The message also states that the SoCalGas Company will cover the costs of repairing the leak, as well the emergency response to the situation.
That response has included the evacuation of thousands of residents from Porter Ranch, and for a very good reason. This massive gas leak is starting to make a lot of people very sick.
The Express, Dec 30, 2015: Thousands suffer nose bleeds and vomiting during ‘worst environmental disaster since BP’ — An invisible environmental disaster which has been compared to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico BP oil spill has forced thousands of people from their homes… with nosebleeds, headaches and nausea, after millions of kilograms of invisible methane was released into the air… Residents claim the gas, which has drifted into surrounding neighborhoods, is making them suffer from nausea, nosebleeds, and headaches
Voice of America: Residents have suffered symptoms that include “nausea, abdominal discomfort, dizziness, light-headedness, some shortness of breath … even some nosebleeds,” said medical toxicologist Cyrus Rangan of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health… scientists are monitoring levels of benzene, a known cancer-causing agent… “We want to be sure that we are monitoring every single day because we’ve got a lot of ever-changing environmental conditions up there… so we’re not exactly sure what tomorrow’s benzene levels are going to be unless we check for it,” he said.
NPR, Dec 24, 2015: The carcinogen benzene was found well above expected levels in one government air sample… the sheer size of the release has been shocking… [Tim O’Connor, oil & gas specialist] “This is so far above and beyond what I’ve ever seen or what most people… in the oil and gas space have ever seen.”
So this gas line was leaking one of the most dangerous carcinogens known to man, and the governor is just now declaring an emergency? And the residents of Porter Ranch had to ask him to do it?
Folks, this disaster is just ridiculous on so many levels. Between the media blackout that was sustained for nearly two months, to California’s incredibly slow recognition of its magnitude, it’s almost like nobody in any position of authority wants to talk about it. And as Melissa Dykes pointed out in December, despite the fact that methane is a greenhouse gas that is 72 times more powerful than CO2, very few of the typical purveyors of climate change have had anything to say about this.
So what the hell is going on here? I’m genuinely curious, because the response to this disaster (or lack of response) by the media, the government, and the global warming crowd, has been baffling. If you have a possible explanation, let us know in the comments.
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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .