If you go by the Establishment Media, you wouldn’t know there’s a MONUMENTAL environmental and public health disaster in southern California, which is worse than the 2010 BP Gulf Oil spill.
For more than 3 months, since October 23, 2015, methane gas has been leaking, uncontrolled, from a natural gas well connected to the huge Aliso Canyon underground storage facility near Porter Ranch, Los Angeles — the second largest natural gas storage facility in the United States which supplies processed natural gas to upwards of 20,000,000 people throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
The facility belongs to the Southern California Gas Company, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy.
The leak is so bad that on January 6, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown issued a state of emergency.
Erin Brockovich calls the Aliso Canyon gas leak “the equivalent of the BP oil spill on land, in a populated community“. Unlike the BP oil leak from an undersea well 5,000 feet below the surface and 60 miles out at sea, the Aliso Canyon gas leak is in a high-density residential area of Los Angeles County, with the city of Los Angeles a stone’s throw away.
The general area affected by the Aliso Canyon gas leak has a population of 30,000 people. Already, some 2,500 households have been relocated from Porter Ranch; another 6,500 plus families are in the process of being relocated. When is the last time that 10,000 households were relocated for any type of manmade disaster? That’s how bad this gas leak is.
Methane is the most powerful greenhouse gas (GHG). The Aliso Canyon leak is coming from a broken pipe in an old gas well, SS 25, which is over 8500 feet deep. When well SS 25 was drilled in 1953, it was provided with a safety valve. In 1979, the safety valve was removed because it was old and leaking, but a new replacement valve was never installed because the well was not considered “critical” in that it wasn’t “within 100 feet of a road or a park, or within 300 feet of a home”.
What makes this ongoing and uncontrolled leak so dangerous is the fact that the broken pipe is directly connected to the second largest gas storage facility in the United States, a facility that can hold 86 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
Public Health crisis
The medical ailments and various health conditions associated with over-exposure to natural gas have already affected many residents in Porter Ranch.
The Alison Canyon gas leak is comprised of methane gas, mercaptan, benzene, toluene and other alkanes in lesser amounts. The health risks of mercaptan and methane are the most serious.
Also called methanethiol, mercaptan is an organosulfur addictive added to natural gas so that leaks can be quickly identified because of sulfur’s foul-smelling rotten-egg odor. Mercaptan is the cause of most of the Alison Canyon gas leak medical ailments thus far which have required some form of medical intervention, including the closure of three schools. Mercaptan, at very high concentrations, is highly toxic and affects the central nervous system. Symptoms include fever, cough, dyspnea, tightness and burning in the chest, dizziness, headache, loss of sense of smell, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Even lower but sustained levels of mercaptan can cause depression, respiratory irritation, respiratory paralysis, pulmonary edema, tremors and seizures, liver and kidney damage, tachycardia and hypertension.
Methane gas in high concentrations and/or prolonged exposure can pose serious health risks because methane depletes oxygen from our bodies, triggering breathing difficulties and eventually resulting in suffocation. Symptoms of methane poisoning include nausea, vomiting, headaches, heart palpitations, cognitive problems (from lack of oxygen in one’s brain), and collapse.
According to a February 3, 2016 report by radio station 95.1-FM in New York city, efforts by Southern California Gas to seal the leak thus far has failed. Even worse, those efforts have destabilized the well, causing other leaks in other areas of the gas field. Late last week, officials described the leak as “totally out of control”.
The volume of gas is coming out so forcefully, it has been described as “like a volcano,” the plume of gas stretching literally for miles above heavily populated areas of Los Angeles. Below is an infra-red image of the otherwise invisible gas plume.
Even more alarming, according to experts from the International Association for Protection from Ionizing Rays (AIPRI) in France, the Aliso Canyon gas leak is also spewing lethal levels — about 45.95 curies a day — of naturally-occurring uranium, radon and other radioactive materials into the air around Los Angeles.
The curie (symbol Ci) is a non-metric unit of radioactivity that’s widely used in the United States to describe very large radioactive releases. To illustrate, the French becquerel (Bq) is a much more human-sized unit of measure for radiation, which means one radioactive count per second. The curie is such a large radioactive release that one curie equals 37 billion becquerels.
The Aliso Canyon gas leak is spewing 45.95 curies or 1.7 trillion becquerels of radioactivity a day — a Fukushima-class disaster.
Reportedly, many residents of Chatsworth, Northridge and Granada Hills have been complaining of nosebleeds, vomiting and diarrhea which they attribute to methane or the mercaptan addictive. But the symptoms of nosebleeds, vomiting and diarrhea are ALSO signs of radiation sickness.
Don’t believe us? Buy your own little Geiger Counter and take some readings yourself. Folks in the area where this gas is blowing will see radiation counts exceeding 2,000 counts-per-minute. In some cases, exceeding that by many times. Then ask the California Highway Patrol what their criteria is for a “Radiation Emergency”? They’ll tell you “Any reading of 500 Counts-Per-Minute CPM or higher is considered a radiation emergency.” It’s been their protocol for years. Same thing with the LA Fire Department. Ask them. They’ll tell you.
Natural gas can explode if exposed to an ignition source like a pilot light on a stove or in a hot water heater.
We’ve all seen news of gas explosions in homes or buildings, and their devastating aftermath. Imagine what Chatsworth, Northridge and Granada Hills will look like if the miles-high Aliso Canyon gas plume floating above those homes ignites. Entire communities would be flattened. The deaths and injuries from such an event would be mind-boggling, yet people are not being told how dangerous this leak is and, despite calls by doctors a month ago to evacuate, many are remaining in the area.
That’s because local-state governments and the media are not communicating the gravity of the gas leak.
There is much speculation throughout the LA area that the catastrophe was deliberately hushed up because of the sheer enormity and severity of the problem.
That it took almost two and a half months for Governor Jerry Brown to officially declare the leak to be an emergency may have something to do with Brown’s sister being on the board of Sempra Energy, the parent company of SoCalGas.
SoCalGas has known about this well gone bad for many years and deliberately chose to take the path of least resistance at every juncture. Given its prior knowledge of faulty and inadequate equipment at the site, SoCalGas faces legal and financial liability that far exceeds anything ever experienced by an American utility.
Why the authorities have not fully disclosed to the people in Los Angeles the enormity of the Aliso Canyon catastrophe may be because they don’t want a panic on their hands, or have businesses and industries shut down, resulting in the loss of jobs and billions in tax revenues.
In the meantime, the gas leak continues . . . .
H/t FOTM‘s MomOfIV, josephbc69, and TNrick