LA City Council calls on governor to close Playa Del Rey gas facility

The Los Angeles City Council has called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to close the Playa del Rey natural gas storage facility, which experts believe is at high risk for tsunamis, wildfire and endangering residents.

Wednesday's resolution -- which was introduced by Councilman Mike Bonin and passed with 13 yes votes and two members absent -- noted that a 2018 study by the California Council on Science and Technology found that the facility "stands out as a facility with relatively higher risk to health and safety than the other facilities in California."

The site at 8141 Gulana Ave. is close to LAX and has a large population living nearby, and in the event of a gas leak, could become an environmental disaster, the study found.

Bonin, in a Twitter post Wednesday, wrote: "The facility poses a risk to the environment, nearby neighborhoods, and the regional economy. We must move aggressively to get off fossil fuels, and we must create a just transition to a clean energy economy. We call on Gov Newsom to acknowledge the risks of this facility, and move quickly to shut it down."

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Officials want to prevent a leak similar to the 2015 Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility methane leak, which forced the evacuation of 8,000 people. It was deemed one of the worst natural gas leaks in the United States and one of the worst environmental catastrophes in California history, the resolution notes.

"Los Angeles has made it clear that gas facilities like Playa del Rey are incompatible with community health and safety," said Food & Water Watch L.A. Organizer Ethan Senser.

"The local community is united in wanting to see gas facilities like Playa del Rey and Aliso Canyon closed, and now is the time to roll up our sleeves and start planning for a just transition. The governor needs to listen to his constituents, bring stakeholders together, and follow the community's leadership in determining real solutions for its future."

Food & Water Watch L.A. said organizers believe the resolution is focused on equity and prioritizes the communities near the facility.

Stephanie Popescu, who is running for the Westchester Playa Neighborhood Council, said, "As a mother to a small child living close to this facility, the pollution from this facility and the risk it poses to my family is very worrisome to me. I am excited about this resolution passing and look forward to a day when this facility is no longer a threat in our community."