imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Porter Ranch methane leak doesn't bode well for climate

by Hilary Lewis Monday, Dec. 21, 2015 at 8:53 PM
hlewis@earthworksaction.org 202-887-1872

Porter Ranch methane leak poses serious risk for climate. New infrared footage exposes the extent of the leak.


video: MPEG at 35.8 mebibytes

Have you ever seen methane? What about benzene? Or the chemical the gas company adds to make your stovetop gas stink, mercaptan? I asked residents at a Save Porter Ranch meeting in northwest Los Angeles if they had seen the pollution they knew was in their community, pouring down from the SoCal Gas storage facility on the hill behind town.

No one responded.

For months now, methane pollution has been billowing from the breached facility into their community. Families have reported bad odors resulting in headaches and nosebleeds. Over 1,000 families have already chosen to relocate and the school district recently authorized the two local schools to move out of the area. But no one had actually seen the pollution.

When an oil spill happens, you see it. At a coal fired power plant, you can often see the pollution blowing in the wind. But when a natural gas storage facility pollutes, what do you see?

Until now, you saw nothing. That’s because much oil and gas air pollution is normally invisible.

My colleague Pete Dronkers and I traveled to the community of Porter Ranch to show them the pollution they knew was there, but couldn’t see.

For Porter Ranch this was a critical step in gaining recognition for the problem. In Earthworks’ experience, showing someone pollution that is otherwise invisible makes it real, and helps catalyze much needed action. For many of the communities we serve, the polluter won’t admit there is pollution at all, so our videos are concrete evidence that something is wrong.

Earthworks uses a FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed) Gasfinder 320 camera that is specially calibrated to expose otherwise invisible air pollution from oil and gas operations. Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is one of about 20 gases it can detect. It also recognizes known carcinogens like benzene and other toxins like volatile organic compounds.

The camera is the same model that industry and government regulators use to detect leaks and other pollution associated with oil and gas. And Pete went through the three day training that FLIR recommends and state regulators also use to get certified to operate it. That, plus the $100,000 price tag, have kept this eye-opening technology out of the hands of the communities that need it most, until now.

What I saw in Porter Ranch was shocking. The black plume picked-up by the camera went on-and-on. But, unfortunately, I have seen it many times before.

Earthworks has filmed over 150 oil and gas facilities in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Dakota, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and other parts of California. While the camera shows the presence of the group of pollutants it detects, we can be relatively certain in this situation that the pollution is mostly methane because it was leaking from a natural gas storage field. 

In Porter Ranch, and across the country, air testing is used to figure out exactly what type and how much pollution is in the air. Tests are ongoing in Porter Ranch, and have already found elevated levels of benzene. But no matter the facility, in our experience, almost everything is leaking something.

This pollution must be stopped:

  • Methane is 86 times worse for climate change than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period. This one leaking facility in Porter Ranch accounts for an estimated 25% of California’s daily methane emissions. Imagine if other storage facilities like this one (and there are many across the U.S.) burst, the climate impact would be catastrophic.
  • Natural gas and natural gas drilling operations (mostly hydraulic fracturing a.k.a fracking) often bring up ‘hitchhikers’ like benzene with the natural gas that drillers seek. These pollutants can be harmful to human health and have led to documented health impacts for people living near compressor stations, pipelines, fracking facilities, etc.

Making visible the normally invisible pollution from oil and gas development is a critical step in generating the political will to take meaningful action on potent climate and health pollutants. The new climate agreement signed in Paris will fall short if we do not address all sources of oil and gas methane pollution.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule that would help us meet our climate commitments by cutting oil and gas methane pollution. But EPA’s proposal doesn’t cover existing facilities, or storage fields like the one near Porter Ranch. Hopefully we will learn from SoCal Gas’ disastrous Porter Ranch experience. Without strong standards that require cutting oil and gas methane pollution from all sources, our climate and our communities will remain at risk.

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Local News

May Day March in Riverside M02 10:35PM

Nuclear Shutdown News: April 2017 M02 4:38PM

Jewish “Defense” League: Nazis in Skull-caps A07 11:13AM

Nuke Shutdown News 3/17 A01 4:13PM

RELATIONS STILL STRAINED BETWEEN SOUTH LOS ANGELES RESIDENTS AND THE POLICE M22 3:22PM

Elect a Green to Congress in Los Angeles M15 2:18AM

Prop. H Activists March on Hollywood to House and Help the Homeless M01 1:46PM

Prop. H Activists March on Hollywood to House and Help the Homeless M01 1:09PM

Prop. H Activists March on Hollywood to House and Help the Homeless M01 12:19PM

24TH ANNUAL LOS ANGELES WOMEN’S THEATRE FESTIVAL HONORS COMPOSER MEGAN CAVALLARI ON MARCH F24 2:40PM

Activists Mark 150 Years Since Chimney Rock Massacre F21 7:00PM

Indivisible local events F16 4:07PM

Help Wanted: How You Can Act Locally To Stymie Trump’s Agenda F16 11:24AM

RACE RELAY - race relations dialogue F16 7:01AM

LA County Greens Oppose S F09 8:52PM

Our Revolution L.A Organizing Meeting F08 12:23AM

First We Marched. Now We Huddle F06 10:54PM

Indigenous, Sacred Lands Disrespected at L.A. Women's March J24 1:52PM

Massive Women's March Los Angeles Tells President Donald Where To Go J23 8:22PM

Massive Women's March Los Angeles Tells President Donald Where To Go J23 8:00PM

Massive Women's March Los Angeles Tells President Donald Where To Go J23 7:42PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Nuclear Shutdown News May 2017 M28 4:01PM

Deep State Targets Duterte for Shaky Alliances, Not Drug Killings M27 10:35AM

G7 Could Move Financing for Famine Relief, Says Religious Development Group M26 2:27PM

Paraphysique de la cybernétique M25 10:36PM

Punishing the Poor. The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity M24 6:16PM

Israeli Jews Say, It’s Our Jerusalem! M23 7:32PM

UN Forum Focuses on Financing for Development Goals M23 9:33AM

Learning from History: Resistance in the 1850s and Today M22 12:27PM

“Hegemony How-To”: Rethinking Activism and Embracing Power M22 12:24PM

Neoliberal Austerity Leads to Deeper Crisis M22 6:14AM

Violence abiotique de l'économie M21 11:42PM

Dr. Maryse Narcisse of Haiti Visits Southern California M20 5:55PM

The Shortwave Report 05/19/17 Listen Globally! M18 5:00PM

STO Service du Travail Obligatoire M18 6:45AM

Puerto Rico Religious Leaders Write Judge as Bankruptcy Process Begins M17 6:54AM

Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Process Begins M16 3:12PM

This Week in Palestine, May 5, 2017 M16 10:47AM

Paying More for Being Poor — Bias and Disparity in California’s Traffic Court System M16 10:39AM

Oakland Committee Voting On Ending Secretive Surveillance M16 10:24AM

WAR, IMPERIALISM, AND SYRIA: MARXIST-HUMANISTS RESPOND M15 8:13PM

Zoopharmacognosie ou les animaux humains et non humains M15 10:39AM

Become a Solidarity Person M15 4:20AM

USA in peril M14 2:21PM

New pamphlet: Marxism and Women's Liberation M14 10:46AM

The Moorish rule in Spain/How the Moors brought civilization to Europe M14 9:00AM

April 2017 Honduras coup update M13 6:29AM

Consumer Bureau Escapes Congress Action to Remove Prepaid Rule M12 4:12PM

Puerto Ricans Gather at Diaspora Summit as Island Begins Bankruptcy Process M12 8:14AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy