State leaders and residents of communities impacted by the Aliso Canyon gas leak are scheduled to meet in a public forum at Shepherd Church in Porter Ranch at 7 p.m. tonight.
Southern California Gas Company reported a massive gas leak at its Aliso Canyon storage well in the Los Angeles suburb of Porter Ranch on Oct. 23, prompting Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to declare a State of Emergency.
On Jan. 4, Governor Brown met with Porter Ranch residents and toured the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility, including the site of the leak and one of the relief wells, the same week he issued a proclamation declaring the situation a State of Emergency.
The implementation of the State of Emergency proclamation focused on stopping the leak, protecting public health and safety, ensuring accountability and strengthening oversight.
“We’ve been collectively involved with this since the inception,” said Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. “It does lend continued importance that we want to provide assurance to the community and to ensure the safety of the residents.”
The meeting includes a panel of ten experts briefing the community on their respective agency’s actions and a Q&A session for residents to ask questions to the panel.
“The biggest thing is having community members hear directly from the state,” said Dan Bout, Cal OES Assistant Director of Response. “We want to let them know ‘here’s what we’re doing,’ to ensure not just safety but long term safety for the residents and to ensure concerns of transparency.”
The Cal OES website is regularly updated with information on the Aliso Canyon gas leak. Tonight’s meeting can be streamed live at www.caloes.ca.gov/live.
“It’s an opportunity for the Governor’s administrative officials to go down there and meet with the Porter Ranch community to listen to their concerns and to share with them what things have been done and what will get done,” said Ghilarducci.
The idea of the meeting is to allow residents of the impacted communities to express their concerns and to share dialogue with state officials.
“This is the venue where the community can come and express some of their concerns,” said Bout. “We want to give them a chance to ask questions and to share solutions.”
The main relief well has drilled to a depth of 7,600 feet, with a final depth of about 8,500 to 8,700 feet. The gas company completed the twelfth magnetic ranging effort of the relief well to continuously locate the 7-inch pipe that is leaking gas.
A large sandbag barrier has been completed around the leaking well work site to mitigate water run off from affecting the work schedule. Surface grading for the main relief well is expected to be complete by Jan. 25.
“The community continues to have questions regarding the current and future safety of this storage field,” said Paula Cracium, President of the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council and also Development Director of the Shepherd Church. “They want to know the Governor hears and is responsive to their concerns.”
Aside from Ghilarducci of Cal OES, other panelists expected to attend the meeting include:
- Michael Picker, President, California Public Utilities Commission
- Elizaveta Malashenko, Director, California Public Utilities Commission Safety and Enforcement Division
- John Laird, Secretary, California Natural Resources Agency
- Matt Rodriquez, Secretary, California Environmental Protection Agency
- Wade Crowfoot, Deputy Cabinet Secretary, Governor’s Office
- Richard Corey, Executive Officer, California Air Resources Board
- Drew Bohan, Chief Deputy Director, California Energy Commission
- Jason Marshall, Chief Deputy Director, California Department of Conservation
- Lauren Zeise, Acting Director, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.