Senate Energy Committee Votes 8-1 to Pass SB 1486: Aliso Canyon Closure

April 29, 2022

Sacramento, CA- In an 8 to 1 vote, the Senate Energy Committee voted in favor of SB 1486 for the responsible and equitable closure of the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Facility.

“A future without Aliso Canyon is finally in sight,” said Senator Henry Stern (D- Los Angeles), the bill’s author.

The tensions surrounding this natural gas facility have followed the October 23, 2015 gas leak started from well SS-25 at Aliso Canyon. This leak would later became the largest known leak of methane in our country’s history.

By the time the well was controlled, almost four months later, more than 100,000 metric tons of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and accompanying toxic and noxious chemical species were emitted to the atmosphere from this industrial incident. Nearby public schools had to be closed during the leak to protect the children and staff, and literally thousands of people in the surrounding communities had to temporarily move during the leak to protect their and their loved ones’ health from the fumes. Even worse, some were forced ultimately to permanently relocate due to ongoing health issues associated with the incident.

Understandably, there has been an outcry from affected communities to close the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Facility. Groups such as the L.A. City Council, the L.A. Unified School District, and numerous environmental organizations have repeatedly demanded for the plant to cease operation. However, much to the concern of residents, just last November the Public Utilities Commission increased the natural gas storage levels at the facility by another 20%!

Since the blow-out, the risks of continued dependence upon natural gas for energy have become more widely acknowledged outside of this isolated facility. Collectively, California is now highly aware of the dire need to limit greenhouse gas emissions if we hope to combat climate change.

“I am seeking to both protect my community, and ensure the state focuses on developing zero carbon energy resources to off-set GHG emission and reduce its reliance on fossil based fuels” said the Senator during his presentation in the Senate Energy Committee.

The bill would further these goals by returning to usage limits that were in place in 2017 at Aliso Canyon, making it an “asset of last resort” not “first resort” and ensuring, the PUC’s investigation proceed with that understanding until they determine a closure date by 2027.

“I applaud the Committee members who voted in favor of SB 1486 today. We know the future has no place for dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure like the Aliso Canyon Gas facility, and Governor Newsom has made it clear that California is headed for a transition to clean energy. That transition can happen right now,” said Senator Stern.