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Thursday, February 11, 2016

California Methane Leak

(Source: Environmental Defense Fund)

Since October 23, there has been a steady leakage of gas from a gas storage facility in Aliso Canyon owned by Southern California Gas Company.  On Thursday, February 11, the company has finally announced a temporary stop to the leak with progress being made toward a permanent seal.  Unfortunately, by this point, a massive amount of methane has been exposed to the atmosphere. An image by Huffington Post gives a more tangible idea of just how much damage was done:


That's 4.7 billion cubic feet of methane. And there are more leaks on a lesser scale like this around the country. The EDF has updated their estimate to approximately 96,000 metric tons of methane from this single leak.

This leak is a good example of a way we can reduce methane in the atmosphere. Many people resist environmentally friendly actions, perhaps because they believe it'll involve a massive change in lifestyle, but much of this problem can be mitigated by increasing safety standards in industry. The EDF is pushing for "basic, low-cost improvements, inspections and leak detection". They also say the EPA is pushing for higher standards in newly-built structures, but progress will still need to be made on already-existing structures. 

Hopefully this massive leak brings more attention to the issue in the public eye and we can make progress from the damage that has been done. One of the best things we can do now is increase awareness of the issue and undoubtedly this is the time to do it. 

Learn more at http://methaneeducation.weebly.com

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