All this is nice but in the end, politics will override safety concerns and the natural gas industry will get what it wants.
In the meantime, the new 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.
Regulators are still weighing whether to let SoCalGas, a subsidiary of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, resume operations at the facility.
In the end, regulators will give SoCalGas everything they want. That’s how it works in Sacramento.
Source: The Sacramento Bee