50+ Groups Call on Gov. Newsom to Deny Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Expansion

Published Aug 17, 2023


Climate and Energy

Los Angeles, CA – Today Food & Water Watch and 50+ other community and activist groups called on Gov. Newsom to instruct the California Public Utilities Commission to reject any attempts by Southern California Gas to increase storage limits at its notorious Aliso Canyon facility, and immediately expedite the complete closure of the facility. 

Despite repeated calls from residents and environmental organizations to shut down this danger to public health, SoCalGas has requested to expand the capacity of this dangerous facility. The California Public Utilities Commission will vote on SoCalGas’s application to increase storage capacity at Aliso Canyon on August 31. 

In part, the letter states: When Governor Newsom took office, he ordered the CPUC to expedite the closure of Aliso Canyon faster than Governor Brown’s proposed closure date of 2027. Governor Newsom has previously clarified to the CPUC that the state’s policy is to close Aliso Canyon and provide funding to do an independent study for closure pathways.”

About eight years ago a well at SoCalGas’s Aliso Canyon storage facility ruptured, leaking 100,000 metric tons of methane gas containing benzene and formaldehyde into neighboring communities in the San Fernando Valley, causing the worst gas blowout in American history. 

Said Andrea Vega, Food & Water Watch Southern California Organizer, “Aliso Canyon poses a significant danger to the health and safety of our communities and is entirely unnecessary. Increasing storage at Aliso Canyon is intended to further enrich SoCalGas executives, not to reduce rates for our community members. It is past time for Gov. Newsom fulfilled his campaign promises and shut this dangerous facility down.” 

The years following the blowout have been less of an aftermath and more of an ongoing nightmare for nearby residents as frequent fires, leaks, and the looming threat of earthquakes endangers their safety. Unfortunately, cancer, asthma and countless other health issues have also become commonplace for the residents of Porter Ranch. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 63% of residents surveyed reported health symptoms after the blowout was capped.

The letter also highlights how Aliso Canyon is not needed to maintain California’s energy reliability and disputes SoCalGas’s claims that expansion at Aliso will maintain rates for users.

Said Patty Gluek, co-founder of Aliso Moms Alliance, “The Aliso Moms Alliance opposes any increase of capacity at Aliso. More gas means more seismic, fire, and health risks for two million residents in the San Fernando Valley. Instead, we need the CPUC to enact its staff proposal that will shut down Aliso Canyon by 2027 at the latest.”

Said Matt Pakucko, President and Co-Founder of Save Porter Ranch, “This proposed storage increase is fueled by SoCalGas’s lies. There is no guarantee that this will hedge against utility rate hikes and this unreliable facility certainly won’t meet California’s energy needs. In fact, the only guarantee is that increasing storage will increase emissions, increase benzene exposure, and increase health problems.

The Public Utilities Commission can’t continue to ignore the increasing health problems and the safety of the North San Fernando Valley while providing no guarantees of a shutdown timeline. Do not allow any more storage. Follow your own staff proposal to shut it down.”

Press Contact: Madeline Bove [email protected]