Excerpt from: CREDO Action
Can you imagine if, during the three months of the Gulf Oil spill, President Obama hadn’t spoken about it, and hadn’t done anything to stop it?
Right now, the worst environmental catastrophe since BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill is underway in Los Angeles, but President Obama hasn’t gotten involved.
Since late October, an uncontrolled leak at SoCalGas’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in LA’s Porter Ranch neighborhood, has been spewing 50 tons per hour of the potent greenhouse gas methane.1 Every day it continues is the climate equivalent of another 7 million cars on the road. But SoCalGas is saying it will be at least another two months until they can stop it.
Thousands of families have been relocated and Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency. But the largest methane leak in history requires nothing less than the full mobilization of federal resources to do everything possible to stop it as soon as possible — and make sure nothing like this happens again
This climate disaster highlights the deep contradiction at the heart of President Obama’s energy and climate policy: Simultaneously committing to fight climate change, while overseeing a massive expansion — and lax regulation — of fracking and natural gas.
Methane is 86 times more potent in our atmosphere over 20 years than carbon dioxide.2 While it generates electricity with lower carbon emissions than coal, the massive leakage of unburned methane straight into the atmosphere cancels out those climate benefits — and could make gas even worse than coal at hastening global warming.3,4
Regulation of the industry has been pitiful. Stunningly, the Aliso Canyon storage facility — the second largest in the nation — hasn’t had a safety valve in place since 1979, and in fact was not required to by law.5 And while the Obama administration is releasing rules to reduce methane leaks from new sources, existing facilities are, incredibly, not covered by the rules.6
This continuing climate catastrophe must be halted as soon as possible, but it is not a mere isolated incident. It is the inevitable result of failed regulations, and the continued promotion of fossil fuels that are incompatible with fighting climate change. Unless we move away from fossil fuels, disasters like this are destined to continue.
During the Gulf oil spill, President Obama said, “the tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now.” That was true then, and is true now as Aliso Canyon continues it’s apocalyptic eruption. It is long past time President Obama heeded his own words.
Speak out by going to CREDO Action and signing the below petition telling President Obama and the EPA that they need to:
- “Do everything in your power to stop the massive Porter Ranch gas leak — and stop the expansion and lax regulation of fracking and gas infrastructure, which make future disasters inevitable.”
We need to stop the Porter Ranch gas leak and make sure this never happens again. Thanks for calling out the dangers of fossil fuels.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
“A single gas well leak is California’s biggest contributor to climate change,” The Guardian, 1/5/16
“How The EPA And New York Times Are Getting Methane All Wrong,” Think Progress, 8/15/15
“The EPA’s Natural Gas Problem,” Nova, 2/11/15
“Historic Los Angeles methane leak puts natural gas emissions under scrutiny,” Utility Dive, 12/21/15
“Leaking gas well in Porter Ranch area lacked a working safety valve,” LA Times, 1/3/16
“Gaping Hole in EPA’s Methane Rules,” Legal Planet, 10/9/15
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