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SoCalGas Takes Steps To Resume Injections Into Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Facility

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After a weekend of legal battles around the reopening of the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Facility, SoCalGas announced to Porter Ranch residents that it has taken all the necessary steps to resume injecting natural gas into the facility. State regulators cleared the facility for reopening last week, after which county attorneys filed to block the reopening. On Friday, they received a temporary restraining order on the facility's reopening, but SoCalGas filed a motion Saturday to reverse this stay. The state appeals court approved the motion from SoCalGas, officially allowing for the reopening of Aliso Canyon.

SoCalGas released a checklist of all the necessary reviews it completed in order to gain permission to reopen, which included submitting a new risk management plan and conducting a leak survey on the entire facility. L.A. County attorneys argued these reviews were not thorough, particularly because they didn't include safety measures around the possibility of a major earthquake. Despite these claims, the company will proceed with re-injection. KPCC reports that, in the email from SoCalGas to the Porter Ranch community, they outlined directives from the California Public Utilities Commission, which involve "maintain[ing] sufficient natural gas inventories at Aliso Canyon to support the reliability of the region’s natural gas and electricity systems." As a result, delaying the injections would pose further risk to the community, according to SoCalGas.

As part of resumed operations, SoCalGas will perform a leak check within 72 hours of injecting gas into the facility and another one within a month of reopening. It will also perform multiple flyovers to check for methane levels.

Porter Ranch residents have been campaigning to close the facility permanently ever since the October 2015 leak became the largest methane leak in national history. L.A. County attorneys also filed another request Monday to block re-injection, which the appeals court rejected, according to CBS.