Jan 28

1. Breaking: They may have “entirely lost control of entire field” involved in LA gas disaster, and it’s coming up everywhere… We learned there’s many other leaks -Attorney — Officials: Loud sound of gas escaping heard half mile away… It’s a “mini-Chernobyl” — AP: Leak “out of control” — TV: Amount released “seriously underestimated” (VIDEO)

2. Experts: Magnitude of LA gas leak “way beyond what any of us have ever been told” — “It’s a worst case emission” — “I’ve never seen a release of this magnitude” — It’s flowing directly into towns with “very little dilution… a worst case scenario” — “Very dangerous condition… be very, very concerned” (VIDEO)

3. LA gas well has ‘destabilized’, large crater develops in area — Officials: “Could be catastrophic” — TV: Risk of massive fire, possible explosion — Expert: “If wellhead fails, the thing is just going to be full blast… a horrible, horrible problem” — Company refuses to provide photos or media access (VIDEO)

1.:

Aliso Canyon Gas Leak Town Hall, published Jan 11, 2016 (emphasis added):

• Bob Bowcock, environmental scientist (at 18:00 in): “We’re starting to hear about the larges­­­t natural gas well leak in the U.S… The State of California and Southern California Gas Company say it’s leaking somewhere between 45,000 and 50,000 kilograms [99,000 and 110,000 pounds] per hour… We’ve done actual field measurements [and] it can be as much as three times greater than what’s being reported.”

• Erin Brockovich (at 31:05 in): “Every person I’ve talked to — thousands of people — are suffering rashes, dizziness, shakiness, they feel like they’re in a fog, nosebleeds, massive headaches… Reports of animals losing their hair, animals vomiting, animals with diarrhea — people actually relocate to hotels to find their animals have passed… You are actually the guinea pig in this situation… As we’re now learning that the magnitude of this is way beyond what any of us have ever been told, and reaches beyond where we have come in and know that there’s been dangers. We need to learn that that’s been happening.

• Camille Sears, meteorologist (at 41:45 in): “SoCalGas has said that things aren’t so bad because the leak is 1,200 feet above the elevation of the community, and that gas is lighter than air. Well, that’s not really the whole story… That gas is going downhill… [Infrared videos] show the plume just running down the hill like water… [which then] goes right into the communities. It’s very little dilution… At night, from midnight to 6:00 in the morning, 90% of the time the winds are coming from that direction [from the gas leak to the communities]. I doubled checked this, because it seems like a phenomenal amount of time that the winds are blowing from the gas leak to the community… It’s a very unfortunate situation that the leak is located where it is… The releases are probably two to three times greater than what the California Air Research Board has been reporting… It’s becoming quite clear that the State is underestimating the amount of gas that’s leaking. I’ve been doing this kind of analysis for 35 years. I’ve done thousands of them since I started doing this in 1980. I’ve never seen a release of this magnitude before… I feel really bad… to report this. It’s not only a worst case emission, it’s the great magnitude of emissions coming out, but it’s also sort of a worst case meteorological scenario that these releases happened to blow from the gas leak down in to the community at night 90 percent of the time. As we’ve seen, those gas emissions tend to flow downhill like water and go right into the communities.”

• Robin Greenberg, attorney (at 1:01:00 in): “Pets are really being affected… Time and again someone sends me photographs of their pet and have these horrible sores.”

• Bowcock (at 1:43:45 in): “This is a very dangerous condition, and it’s something that you all should be very, very concerned with… That’s a pretty substantial area and everyone in that are needs to be concerned about it… Veterinarians are very concerned about it… because the vets are actually seeing a lot of really, really sick animals… It is impacting the animals much, much more — believe me.”

Watch the town hall meeting here

2.:

Aliso Canyon Gas Leak Town Hall, published Jan 11, 2016 (emphasis added):

• Bob Bowcock, environmental scientist (at 18:00 in): “We’re starting to hear about the larges­­­t natural gas well leak in the U.S… The State of California and Southern California Gas Company say it’s leaking somewhere between 45,000 and 50,000 kilograms [99,000 and 110,000 pounds] per hour… We’ve done actual field measurements [and] it can be as much as three times greater than what’s being reported.”

• Erin Brockovich (at 31:05 in): “Every person I’ve talked to — thousands of people — are suffering rashes, dizziness, shakiness, they feel like they’re in a fog, nosebleeds, massive headaches… Reports of animals losing their hair, animals vomiting, animals with diarrhea — people actually relocate to hotels to find their animals have passed… You are actually the guinea pig in this situation… As we’re now learning that the magnitude of this is way beyond what any of us have ever been told, and reaches beyond where we have come in and know that there’s been dangers. We need to learn that that’s been happening.

• Camille Sears, meteorologist (at 41:45 in): “SoCalGas has said that things aren’t so bad because the leak is 1,200 feet above the elevation of the community, and that gas is lighter than air. Well, that’s not really the whole story… That gas is going downhill… [Infrared videos] show the plume just running down the hill like water… [which then] goes right into the communities. It’s very little dilution… At night, from midnight to 6:00 in the morning, 90% of the time the winds are coming from that direction [from the gas leak to the communities]. I doubled checked this, because it seems like a phenomenal amount of time that the winds are blowing from the gas leak to the community… It’s a very unfortunate situation that the leak is located where it is… The releases are probably two to three times greater than what the California Air Research Board has been reporting… It’s becoming quite clear that the State is underestimating the amount of gas that’s leaking. I’ve been doing this kind of analysis for 35 years. I’ve done thousands of them since I started doing this in 1980. I’ve never seen a release of this magnitude before… I feel really bad… to report this. It’s not only a worst case emission, it’s the great magnitude of emissions coming out, but it’s also sort of a worst case meteorological scenario that these releases happened to blow from the gas leak down in to the community at night 90 percent of the time. As we’ve seen, those gas emissions tend to flow downhill like water and go right into the communities.”

• Robin Greenberg, attorney (at 1:01:00 in): “Pets are really being affected… Time and again someone sends me photographs of their pet and have these horrible sores.”

• Bowcock (at 1:43:45 in): “This is a very dangerous condition, and it’s something that you all should be very, very concerned with… That’s a pretty substantial area and everyone in that are needs to be concerned about it… Veterinarians are very concerned about it… because the vets are actually seeing a lot of really, really sick animals… It is impacting the animals much, much more — believe me.”

Watch the town hall meeting here

3.:

Los Angeles Times, Jan 15, 2016 (emphasis added): Efforts to plug Porter Ranch-area gas leak worsened blowout risk, regulators say — Southern California Gas Co… is trying to avoid a blowout, which state regulators said is now a significant concern after a seventh attempt to plug the well created more precarious conditions at the site. If a blowout occurs, highly flammable gas would vent directly up through the well… rather than dissipating as it does now… State officials said a blowout would increase the amount of leaked gas… That natural gas also creates the risk of a massive fire… The risk of fire already is so high that cellphones and watches are banned from the site… [The gas company’s attempts to stop the leak] expanded a crater around the wellhead, state and gas company officials said. The crater is now 25 feet deep, 80 feet long and 30 feet wide, those officials said… [The gas company] declined repeated requests from The Times… The gas company would not provide current photos of the site or allow media access… In one internal state report obtained by The Times, an agency official described [one] kill effort as a “blowout to surface.”A large column of gas, aerated mud, and rock formed a geyser around the wellhead,” the state observer wrote.

Scott McGurk, senior oil and gas field regulator assigned to daily watch at Aliso Canyon, Jan 15, 2016: The site and wellhead were made more unstable by the gas company’s attempts to stop the leak by pumping a slurry directly into the well… The wellhead sits exposed within the cavernous space, held in place with cables attached after it wobbled during the plugging attempt… During one of [the plugging] attempts Nov. 13, a hole in the ground opened 20 feet north of the well… Gas that had seeped through diffuse rock fissures on the western side of the narrow ridge began streaming instead from the new vent… the vent allowed a “serious amount of gas” to escape.

Gene Nelson, a physical sciences professor at Cuesta College, Jan 15, 2016: “If the wellhead fails, the thing is just going to be full blast… It will be a horrible, horrible problem. The leak rates would go way up.”

Don Drysdale, California Department of Conservation spokesman, Jan 15, 2016: The possibility of fire [is] “a concern” even without a blowout.

Los Angeles Times, Jan 16, 2016: [There’s] new evidence the [Puclic Utility Commission] is concerned that the compromised well site in Aliso Canyon is vulnerable to either a blowout… an explosion, or both… PUC includes a warning that damage to the well system, which was subjected to two months of aggressive high-pressure pumping to try to plug the leak, might now permit air to mix with methane in a way that “could be catastrophic.”… [T]he utility began a series of increasingly aggressive attempts to plug the well with heavy mud… those efforts instead scoured a 25-foot-deep crater around the well, blew out a large vent from which gas could escape more freely, and threatened the stability of the wellhead itself… The Department of Conservation says those facilities present “a direct and ongoing threat to public health, safety, and the environment”

NPR, Jan 15, 2016: Adding to concerns over the disaster, efforts to stop the leak appear to have destabilized the well, the Los Angeles Times reports, raising the risk of a blowout… SoCalGas’ efforts to cap the well have actually increased the risk of a blowout. Seven attempts to plug the leak have made the area less stable… even without a blowout, the leak could catch on fire.

FOX LA transcript, Jan 16, 2016: “Trying to avoid a blowout, state regulators say it’s now a big concern after SoCalGas has tried to plug a leaking well near Porter Ranch seven times. If a blowout happens, experts say highly flammable gas would go up the well, creating a risk of a massive fire — possibly even an explosion.”

Watch FOX LA’s broadcast here (wait for 2nd video to play autonatically)

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