LOS ANGELES (AP) — California oil and gas regulators proposed stiff new regulations Friday for underground gas natural storage facilities after a blowout drove 8,000 families from their Los Angeles homes.
The rules proposed by the Department of Conservation follow the massive Southern California Gas Co. leak capped last year that persisted nearly four months and led to widespread complaints of headaches, nosebleeds, nausea and other maladies.
Ken Harris, supervisor of the department’s oil and gas division, said the regulations aimed at making all 12 underground natural gas storage fields in the state safer are believed to be the strictest and most comprehensive in the nation.
The agency had been criticized for being easy on industry before the October 2015 blowout at the Aliso Canyon facility above the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley.
Proposed regulations intended at preventing future leaks would set standards for stronger well construction, daily testing for leaks and more rigorous inspections of well integrity. It would also require emergency response plans and contingencies for disasters such as earthquakes, spills, explosions or fires.
Wells would also need to have secondary protection from a leak.
The well that failed was being used to inject and withdraw natural gas through both an internal pipe and an outer steel casing intended as a protective layer.
The method, which is employed throughout the industry, allowed larger volumes of gas to pass through both spaces, but put the system in jeopardy if there was a leak, experts said.
The Aliso Canyon blowout is believed to have occurred when the protective outer casing failed in a well that was over 60 years old. Gas under high pressure escaped and forced its way from a depth of 900 feet to the surface where it couldn’t be contained for months.
The proposed regulations would overlap with some of the stiffer requirements put in place at Aliso Canyon, where 45 of utility’s 114 wells have now passed rigorous tests and the remaining wells are out of operation.
Regulators are still weighing whether to let SoCalGas, a subsidiary of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, resume operations at the facility.
Many residents who live in nearby Porter Ranch and environmental groups want the facility to be shut down, though SoCalGas said it’s a vital energy source in the region.
A spokesman said the company was reviewing the proposed regulations, which are open to public comment until July 13.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- 7 common ways to get sued by your employees
- Why it might be time to upgrade your toilet
- Arizona teachers are building a better future by using technology in the classroom
- How to make summer reading fun for the whole family
- How to find relief for chronic joint pain
- Can the NBA Lottery save the Suns?
- Skip Urgent Care: 5 ailments you can treat with telemedicine
- Skin Cancer in Arizona: Stats, facts and new immunotherapy drugs making strides
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments