By Regis Yates
The image above is an infrared photograph from the Porter Ranch area, exposing California’s Aliso Canyon Methane Leak, which is the largest in the world and according to experts, its 20-30 times larger than anything they have ever seen.
The leak was discovered back in October at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in northwest Los Angeles. The leak is a serious health risk to nearby residents and because methane – the primary component of natural gas – is a potent greenhouse gas, some have called this leak a “disaster” for climate change.
SoCalGas has denied any wrongdoing stating the gas is lighter than the air and is going straight up.
On Tuesday, Los Angeles prosecutors filed criminal charges against Southern California Gas over the leak — which has forced thousands of residents from their homes. The four misdemeanor charges accuse So Cal Gas, a division of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, of failing to report the release of hazardous materials following the underground pipeline rupture and discharging air contaminants.
“While we recognize that neither the criminal charges nor the civil lawsuits will offer the residents of Los Angeles County a complete solution, it is important that Southern California Gas Co. be held responsible for its criminal actions,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a written statement.
According to Reuters, there is also a wrongful death lawsuit against the company. Purportedly, 79 year old Zelda Rothman has died. The family notes the gas leak hastened her demise. The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages against the company for the suffering and death of Rothman.
Rothman lived about 3 miles from the source of the methane and was leading an active life, despite her diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer, her family’s lawyer, Scott Glovsky, said on Thursday.
Check out the video below, BPEarthwatch warns Californians of the short and long term effects.
Since October, the leak has released 150 million pounds (72,000 metric tons) of methane into the environment, according to the Environmental Defense Fund, which has tracked the leak using infrared cameras.