San Diego Says No New Gas!

Above photo: From Facebook.

San Diego Residents Call for Moratorium on New Natural Gas Exploration in Response to Porter Ranch Crisis.

San Diego, CA – Tuesday, February 9th at 2:30pm, activists with Rising Tide San Diego occupied the Sempra Energy building to call for a moratorium on new natural gas exploration in California. Carrying large painted clouds representing methane, or natural gas, and an open letter to SoCal gas, as subsidiary of Sempra Energy, Governor Brown and a list of local representatives, the organizers hope to make the Porter Ranch Crisis a wake-up call for the true costs of California’s natural gas industry.

12672204_448727595317240_6508084754442347635_oThe protest comes nearly four months after workers at a SoCal gas storage facility near LA noticed a substantial leak originating in an underground storage well. As of late January, the well has reportedly leaked over 86,00 metric tons of methane and counting. An article in the LA Times reported that “the leak is so large it will measurably set back not just the city’s but the entire state’s greenhouse gas emission targets, effectively erasing nearly a decade’s worth of state emission reductions.” According to records discovered by the LA Weekly, the well’s underground safety valve broke in 1978 and was not replaced. According to current regulations, the safety valve is not required on wells located a substantial distance from a park, road, or house. Because of reckless safety regulations like these, methane gas leaks are a regular event at every stage of gas production and storage. According to independent research conducted in the City of LA, by the Environmental Research Fund (EDF), instruments detect an average of about one leak for every four miles in Pasadena, and one leak for every five miles in Inglewood, one leak for every five miles in Chino.

Natural gas, or methane, is a greenhouse gas with 84 times the impact of C02. Because of this, we know that the impacts of leaks ranges far beyond the local community. Greenhouse gasses trap energy from the sun and accelerate the climate change already in effect from decades of heavy fossil fuel reliance. But for communities like Porter Ranch, Pasedena, Inglewood, and Chino, natural gas extraction also brings dangerous levels of known carcinogens such as benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylenes.

According to Rising Tide organizers, gas leaks like the Porter Ranch leak pose a massive human rights issue. Not only do these leaks accelerate climate change, they endanger neighboring communities with carcinogenic toxins. While the Porter Ranch crisis has been widely reported, companies like SoCal gas of Sempra Energy operate hundreds of similar, unsafe wells. Wells in low income and POC communities vastly outnumber those drilled in affluent communities like Porter Ranch. According to Rising Tide organizers, it’s time to recognize the real costs of natural gas development, and place a moratorium on new natural gas exploration in California.

“We know that it is incredibly difficult and costly to prevent contamination issues like the gas leak at Porter Ranch. Natural gas extraction would be so complex and expensive to conduct safely that regulators simply look the other way while gas companies cut corners to keep natural gas profitable.” – Annie Lukins, Rising Tide San Diego member

*Rising Tide is an international, all-volunteer, grassroots network of groups and individuals who organize locally, promote community-based solutions to the climate crisis and take direct action to confront the root causes of climate change. Rising Tide is committed to stopping the extraction of fossil fuels and preventing the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure. The systems that are destroying the planet are systems rooted in oppression; combating climate change is therefore not just a matter of carbon emissions, but of confronting the institutions that destroy communities, cultures and the Earth.

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