POV: Governor Brown and the Porter Ranch Gas Leak

While Governor Brown was in Paris last December warning of dire consequences of the world's increased carbon footprint, a here and now greenhouse gas disaster was playing out in Porter Ranch.

On October 23, a natural gas storage well began spewing 1,200 tons of methane into the atmosphere each day.

Porter Ranch residents were getting sick. Thousands had to leave their homes. 

Yes it took more than two and a half months for Governor Brown to declare a state of emergency. 

And the governor only took action after continued prodding from Congressman Brad Sherman and the residents of Porter Ranch and surrounding communities. The governor was in effect warned before the disaster.

The Center for Biological Diversity reports that California regulatory agencies under Governor Brown have "known for years that aging natural gas infrastructure was a disaster waiting to happen, but officials mostly ignored those risks."

Where was the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources -- that under our governor, is supposed to be the watchdog responsible for the safety of natural gas wells? 

This agency reports to a chain of bureaucrats with ultimate supervision by the Secretary of Natural Resources, who is appointed by the governor. 

So, in fact, the buck stops with Governor Brown...

A 2015 report field two weeks before the Porter Ranch catastrophe found continued problems including "insufficient staffing, inconsistent leadership and insufficient depth of technical talent."

Did Governor Brown know about these failures all along? If he did, he ignored them.

Then, there is Brown's Public Utilities Commission that had no answered SoCalGas's request for help to make more frequent inspections and identify other potential problems around the state.

Governor, please do the following:

Fix upper management at California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal resources.

The division has to clean up its act if it's going to deal with a debacle like Porter Ranch, as well as prevent this kind of disaster from happening again.

Many states require casings around underground gas pipes to be protected by cement. California should as well.

Governor Brown, you must stay vigilant.

Make sure the Public Utilities Commission gets engaged. No more waiting for months during an environmental crisis to declare an emergency.

This methane leak should be a wake up call to make sure it never happens again.

Thanks for listening.

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