Aliso Canyon After Eight Years: Ongoing Expansions, Still No Plans For Closure From Newsom Administration

Published Oct 23, 2023


Climate and Energy

Los Angeles, CA – October 23 marks eight years since the Aliso Canyon gas blowout released 100,000 metric tons of methane gas containing benzene, formaldehyde, and other carcinogenic toxins into neighboring communities in the San Fernando Valley. In the years since, despite the initial moratorium of the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility following the blowout and promises from Governor Newsom to expedite the closure of the facility, the capacity of Aliso Canyon has been continuously expanded under the Newsom Administration. Most recently, in August the Newsom-appointed California Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted in favor of increasing storage limits at Aliso Canyon from 41 billion cubic feet (Bcf) to 68.6 billion (Bcf).

Said Andrea Vega, Food & Water Watch Senior Southern California Organizer, “Governor Newsom’s promises on the world stage to rein in the fossil fuel industry ring hollow, and especially for those in our community who had to live through one of the most horrific gas blowouts in American history. Now, eight years later, his administration is still no closer to closing down SoCalGas’ dangerous Aliso Canyon gas facility and is refusing to meet with those in the community who have been pleading with him to do so for years. This ongoing pattern of Newsom’s Administration expanding dirty fuel infrastructure, then turning his back to frontline communities, all while offering platitudes should give anyone some pause before claiming that he is a climate champion.

“We need a resounding commitment from Governor Newsom that in California the fossil fuel industry will no longer treat communities as sacrifice zones for their greedy corporate interests. He promised to shut Aliso down, it’s time he delivers on that promise.”

Patty Glueck of the Aliso Moms Alliance said, “It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since the north Valley was assaulted for 111 days with toxic chemicals from the blowout at the SoCalGas Aliso Canyon Facility. Besides the immediate acute health effects we all suffered, we’ve noticed an increase in diagnoses of cancer and other serious, life-threatening diseases since the blowout. We need the California Public Utilities Commission to acknowledge that having a mismanaged and poorly maintained gas storage facility in a seismically active area that’s also a very high fire hazard severity zone is dangerous to those who live and work here. The CPUC and Governor Newsom need to take action to close Aliso Canyon by 2027 at the latest. The health and safety of the families who live in the communities surrounding the Aliso Canyon Facility should matter more than SoCalGas’s wealth.”

Press Contact: Madeline Bove [email protected]