Now that the leak is on its way to being permanently sealed, Senator Pavley reported to the Porter Ranch Community Advisory Committee last night that she is already receiving push back on her bill SB 380 from businesses not in proximity to Aliso who are concerned about reliable delivery of gas and the electricity that it generates in the summer. SB 380 would create an immediate moratorium on natural gas injection into the Aliso Canyon Storage Field and restrict production of gas through 1950s era wells at Aliso until the Division of Oil, Gas, & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) in conjunction with the California Public Utilities Commission assesses the integrity of the wells, requires those wells not meeting integrity standards be capped, and determines that the overall risk to the surrounding communities is low.
SB380, a bi-partisan bill, passed the Senate unanimously on January 28, and is headed to the Assembly next. As urgency legislation, it requires a two thirds majority vote and is enacted upon the Governor’s signature. Bills requiring a simple 50% majority become law at the beginning of the next calendar year, which was deemed too late for the purpose of establishing a moratorium at Aliso Canyon. The bill is complementary to and more specific than the Governor’s moratorium, whose duration is unsure.
There will be a hearing in the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee on Monday, February 22. Pavley has already received letters of support from PRNC, Supervisor Antonovich, County Board of Supervisors and Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Other legislation is pending regarding studying long term health impacts and safety standards at wells to address the outdated requirement from 1978 that safety valves are required for wells within 300 feet of homes due to concern about potential explosion. Clearly with the gas leak affecting homes in a five mile radius, the 300 foot number is no longer valid.
“We want to make sure that as our infrastructure everywhere is aging, whether it’s water pipes in the City of Los Angeles or older oil or gas wells, that we have a system in place to assure the highest level of safety possible,” states Senator Pavley.
While Porter Ranch and surrounding communities may not be entirely in agreement as to whether the facility should be shut down entirely, certainly everyone wants a safe community. Reopening the facility without doing anything to address those concerns would be unacceptable to Porter Ranch, Chatsworth, Northridge and Granada Hills.
SoCal Gas Report
The process for sealing the well includes the three steps of Control, Cement and Confirm. SoCal Gas has completed the Control step and is currently beginning the Cement step which could take several days after which 24-48 hours is needed to cure the cement. DOGGR may take 3-5 days to Confirm. DOGGR Process to Confirm Well is Sealed
Responding to earlier questions, SoCal Gas reports that 72 wells withdraw gas through the outer casing. They shared a map showing the areas of highest relocation in red, next highest in yellow, and lowest in green. The relocations go as far south as Plummer. The highest areas appeared to be the Porter Ranch Estates, Tuscany and the Heights.
SoCal Gas has already begun accelerated inspection of 18 wells similar to the leaking well.
Return to Homes
Regarding the return the agreement with the City Attorney’s Office includes 8 days, 7 nights after the DOGGR Confirmation from hotels. Those in leased and rental housing are either through March 31 or April 30. Exceptions for medical reasons can be filed starting Friday, February 12.
County information on return to homes recommends airing out your house for two hours. SoCal Gas will pay for removing the oily residue from exteriors and cars. OEHHA has stated that it is not necessary to clean houses and duct work. SoCal Gas will do a special inspection at schools and parks. County Health Return Info
Real time methane monitoring is available here: http://fenceline.org/porter/data.php
Representatives from the County Assessor reported that they were in the process of gathering information from myriad sources including realtors, lenders, builders and tax payers to assess whether a reduction in property value and therefore property tax was warranted. Data points would likely include sales prices and the number of sales transactions in their comprehensive review of the Porter Ranch community from De Soto to Reseda north of the 118. If warranted, they would adjust property values in that area, but the impact would probably not be seen on tax bills due in April.
Representatives from surrounding communities wanted their communities to be included in that analysis and adjustment, so that their homeowners would not have to file appeals to have their property taxes lowered. On the other hand, Issam Najm President of Northridge Park HOA, representing all HOAs in Porter Ranch, stated that his communities were not necessarily in favor of a property tax reduction.
Commercial property is not included in the evaluation the Assessor is conducting.
It may be possible to file a Calamity and Misfortune Claim for property tax relief, which was intended to address fire, earthquake and flooding. With potential property value reduction from the gas leak being uncharted territory, it is not clear how this would work.
More on Property Tax Disaster Relief: https://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/faqs/disaster.htm
More on Proposition 8: Decline in Value: http://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/faqs/prop8.htm
Questions regarding property tax payments and / or requests for penalty cancellations may be directed to: [email protected]
Jeffrey Prang, the Los Angeles Assessor, has provided applications property owners can complete to apply for relief for Property Damaged or Destroyed by Misfortune or Calamity and Property Tax Installment Deferral on his website at assessor.lacounty.gov. Both applications provide the filing instructions and deadline.
County Health Odor Surveillance
County Health confirmed that often instrumentation cannot detect odors at their lowest levels, but people’s noses can. They would like to create an Odor Surveillance Team comprised of people who regularly walk out in the community several times a day. These volunteers would report in via text or email providing the time, gps location, intensity of the odor and its duration. County Health is seeking good coverage of the community with at least several dozen people.
Matt Pakucko of Save Porter Ranch pushed back on this study and the addition of another number to call. Others appreciated and welcomed the effort. County Health pointed out that this is a great time to begin this study as the odors have dropped and people should be safer outside than before. The AQMD effort to capture complaints has a different focus.
The CAC inquired whether it is possible to have health effects if someone doesn’t smell the odors. This is another data point that is not yet answered.
The PRNC solicited and collected questions from the community for this meeting. PRNC President Paula Cracium reviewed the questions and combined them in her questions to presenters during the meeting. This summary does not address all those questions. Please review the notes or video for more complete answers.
Complete notes on the meeting: http://www.prcac.com/wp-content/uploads/PRCAC-Meeting-7-notes.pdf
Video of the meeting: https://vimeo.com/155081172
- Greg Nelson
THE CITY--A proposal has hit the City Council that recommends placing a measure on an upcoming ballot to change the decision-making structure at the Department of Water and Power. This presents an extraordinary opportunity for the city’s Neighborhood Councils to fulfill the dreams of the system’s creator by taking a leadership role in the measure’s design.