California Declares State Of Emergency Over Catastrophic Gas Leak

The leaking methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, amounts to a quarter of the state’s total methane output.

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A Los Angeles natural gas leak that has for months been releasing around 1,200 tons of methane daily has led to California Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency. The leaking methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, amounts to a quarter of the state’s total methane output.

Since the leak was detected Oct. 23, thousands of people in the Porter Ranch neighborhood have been sickened, including symptoms such as nausea, nosebleeds, lightheadedness, headaches and more. So far, nearly 5,000 families have been relocated or are currently in the process.

Mitchell Englander, the LA city councilman representing Porter Ranch, called the gas leak “one of the most devastating environmental disasters in the history of California.”

“This is the equivalent of the BP oil spill, except it’s on land, in a populated community,” said Englander, according to the New York Times.

Southern California Gas Co., the company that owns the leaking well, last week determined the location of the well pipe responsible, though they’ve so far been unable to determine exactly where the well was breached.

Gov. Brown’s order — which makes state personnel, equipment and facilities available to aid the situation — states that the gas company, not California, will be responsible for all expenses related to the leak and that Southern California Gas Co. will not raise rates as a result.

The 8,000-foot-deep well could hold as much as 86 billion cubic feet of gas — enough to supply all of Southern California for a month, according to the Associated Press.

Crews are working to plug the natural gas leak in the Porter Ranch neighborhood 24 hours a day. (AP Photo)Crews are working to plug the natural gas leak in the Porter Ranch neighborhood 24 hours a day. (AP Photo)

The gas company is currently working on drilling a relief well, which would allow them to plug the leaking well, but that won’t be complete until March.

Do you think the California governor waited too long to make the declaration? Comment below or tweet @MNetKatie.

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