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Methane leak in California Continues to Release Gas

A natural gas  is jeopardizing health and causing evacuations for thousands of Southern California residents.

Described as the largest natural gas leak ever, scientists and engineers still can’t figure out a way to contain the seeping gas.

It is easily the worst environmental disaster since BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Tellingly, some experts who stopped that leak are working to contain this one.

On October 23, the Southern California Gas Company discovered a leak in its natural gas storage facility in Porter Ranch, a neighborhood about 25 miles northwest from downtown Los Angeles. Engineers don’t know what caused it, but believe that a well casing failed deep below the surface. It will take at least several more months to find the source and repair the leak, which requires careful drilling far from the tank itself to avoid igniting the gas and causing an explosion.

Video from the Environmental Defense Fund shows gas spewing into the air ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND

Video from the Environmental Defense Fund shows gas spewing into the air ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND

The state agency that monitors air quality estimates nearly 70,000 pounds of gas is being released every hour. That’s roughly a quarter of the methane emissions in California.

“Once the leak is stopped we will be able to evaluate what caused the leak and we will be able to evaluate how much natural gas escaped,” said So-Cal gas spokesman Mike Mizrahi.

The leak is expected to be fixed by March, but as a precaution, elementary school students at two nearby schools will be relocated.