Porter Ranch gas wells safe enough to reopen: state regulators

It could still close in the long run, officials said

Aliso Canyon gas storage facility (Credit: Wikipedia)
Aliso Canyon gas storage facility (Credit: Wikipedia)

After months of inspection, state regulators have deemed the Aliso Canyon gas wells operated by Southern California Gas Company safe enough to reopen.

The announcement comes two years after the worst methane leak in American history, which forced thousands of people to temporarily vacate their homes in Porter Ranch. Storage capacity, however, will be limited to 28 percent, according to California Public Utilities Commission executive director Timothy Sullivan.

The leak was capped in February 2016, the Los Angeles Daily News reported, but state regulators are still unsure of the cause of the leak.

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Closure is still a possibility, according to Sullivan, but not within the next year.

Activists and local officials are disappointed with the state’s decision and even the California energy commissioner sent out a letter urging regulators to shut down the wells.

“The facility should remain closed until the root cause analysis and energy reliability study are completed and the health concerns of our impacted residents are fully addressed to the satisfaction of county health officials,” said L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

In the meantime, despite the leak’s inconclusive results and potential linger health effects, real estate values have not been adversely affected. In April, Toll Brothers reported a surge in sales for its 3,400-unit luxury housing community in Porter Ranch. [LADN]Cathaleen Chen