State Senate Leaders Announce Plan on Porter Ranch Gas Leak | NBC Southern California

Coverage of the natural gas leak at SoCalGas Company's Aliso Canyon facility.

State Senate Leaders Announce Plan on Porter Ranch Gas Leak

State senators called the gas leak a local, national and international disaster.

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NEWSLETTERS

As residents complain of daily nosebleeds and abdominal pains from the natural gas leak in Porter Ranch, officials mull over a burn off plan. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 5 & 6 on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. (Published Monday, Jan. 11, 2016)

Lawmakers on Monday announced a legislative package in response to a methane gas leak that has forced thousands of people from their homes in the Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles.

A group of four state senators met outside Southern California Gas Co.'s Aliso Canyon storage facility, where the leak was detected late October, calling for a moratorium of on any new gas injections.

The lawmakers said an aggressive plan beyond the emergency declaration made by Gov. Jerry Brown last week was needed, and referred to the gas leak as a local, national and international disaster.

Sen. Fran Pavley, who represents the area, said more testing at well sites and better industry regulations are the best ways to prevent another disaster.

State Senators Push for Legislation on Porter Ranch Gas Leak

[LA] State Senators Push for Legislation on Porter Ranch Gas Leak
California senators were asking for a moratorium on any new injections of gas at the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility in Porter Ranch. Rick Montanez reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Monday, Jan 11, 2016. (Published Monday, Jan. 11, 2016)

"This is a challenge. It is a tragedy and I know we can do better," Pavley said.

Sen. Ben Allen said the leak continued to be detrimental to the local and state environment.

"At its peak this was emitting the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as 7 million automobiles," Allen said.

The leak has forced thousands of households from the area and has led to complaints of headaches, nausea and other ailments.

Lawmakers Plan Announcement on Gas Leak

[LA] Lawmakers Plan Announcement on Porter Ranch Gas Leak
State Senate leaders plan to announce legislation in response to the Aliso Canyon gas leak. Rick Montanez reports for Today in LA on Monday Jan. 11, 2016. (Published Monday, Jan. 11, 2016)

According to one estimate, more than 78,000 metric tons of methane have leaked from the storage well. That's equivalent to roughly 745 million gallons of gasoline burned, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.

At a hearing on Saturday, the South Coast Air Quality Management District Hearing Board considered a proposed order that would require the Southern California Gas Co. to minimize natural gas leaking from the well and to capture and dispose of leaking gas.

Hundreds of frustrated residents packed the meeting to express their outrage, calling for the permanent closure of Aliso Canyon. Residents have also said they are not being provided with enough information from SoCal Gas in the wake of the leak, including potential health hazards and a realistic timeline for when it can be stopped.

Southern California Gas Co. is in the process of digging relief wells that are expected to allow the company to cap the leak. That process, however, likely will not be completed until February or March.

Porter Ranch Residents Rally, Demanding Facility Closure

[LA] Porter Ranch Residents Rally, Demanding Facility Closure
No decision made Saturday from South Coast Air Quality Management District about a new plan aimed at containing the Porter Ranch gas leak. Marin Austin reports for the NBC4 News at 6 on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016. (Published Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016)

In the meantime, two schools have been relocated. More than 1,000 students from Porter Ranch will not head back to school on Monday, as is planned for the majority of Los Angeles Unified School District.

Students are expected to return to school on Tuesday at different campuses.

Lawmakers hope their efforts will address fears and get life back to normal for Porter Ranch residents.

"It is our intent in the legislature to address these concerns to find solutions so we build our more sustainable energy grid in the safest way possible," Sen. Bob Huff said.

Health Risk in Porter Ranch Forces Students Into New School

[LA] Health Risk in Porter Ranch Forces Students Into New School
The experts in charge of the Los Angeles River revealed plans to raise the height of the river bank in certain places where the river's capacity has been reduced, leaving it potentially vulnerable to overflowing. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 8, 2016. (Published Friday, Jan. 8, 2016)

SoCalGas did not comment on what a moratorium would do for its operations and added it's focused on capping the leaking well.