LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California Gas Company facility where a blowout spewed methane for nearly four months has completed a safety review and could resume reduced operations after a series of public hearings, state officials said Tuesday.
The Aliso Canyon natural gas storage site has been crippled more than a year since the blowout discovered in October 2015 drove 8,000 families from their homes and led to mass complaints of nosebleeds, nausea, headaches and other maladies.
More than a third of the wells in the aging former oil field now pass rigorous inspections ordered after the blowout, the Department of Conservation said.
If allowed to resume gas storage, the company would be limited to store only about a third of the facility's capacity, the state said.
Aliso Canyon is the largest gas storage site in the West and is considered critical for home heating and to power gas-fired electricity plants during energy spikes.
However, blackouts predicted without the facility in full operation have not occurred and many nearby residents want it permanently shut down after enduring the stench, ailments and frustration after the blowout.
They can now have their say in public comments accepted until Feb. 6 and at hearings Feb. 1 and 2 in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles.