Los Angeles County once again failed to halt natural gas operations at the Southern California Gas Co.’s Aliso Canyon facilities, after the state Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would not review a lower court’s decision that permitted limited operations at the site.
The California Public Utilities Commission and the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, or DOGGR, ordered SoCalGas to resume natural gas injections at the site in July at about 28 percent of its operational capacity. The decision to reopen the facilities came after months of testing by state and federal authorities, and was necessary to prevent shortages at residences and businesses in the region, the agencies said.
The Aliso Canyon facility was the site of the largest methane gas leak in U.S. history beginning in October 2015, which led to the evacuation of more than 15,000 Porter Ranch-area residents. The spill was not capped until the following February, after an estimated 106,000 tons of methane had been released into the air.
Los Angeles County has made multiple attempts to halt operations at the site since it reopened, arguing that DOGGR neither conducted a public hearing after the completion of its safety assessment nor gauged seismic risks associated with resuming injections. SoCalGas maintains that the site is safe.