PNS Daily Newscast - March 20, 2019 

Joe Biden tells supporters he intends to run in the 2020 presidential election. Also, on the Wednesday rundown: A landmark bill in California would ban toxic chemicals in cosmetics; and, groups sue to end disease-spreading elk feeding.

Daily Newscasts

California Air Resources Board Considers New Rules on Oil, Gas Well Safety

An infrared image showing the gas leak in Aliso Canyon, last fall. (Environmental Defense Fund)
An infrared image showing the gas leak in Aliso Canyon, last fall. (Environmental Defense Fund)
July 22, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Regulators with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) at a hearing on Thursday removed a major loophole from proposed new rules on oil and natural gas facilities, in an effort to prevent another disaster like the massive gas leak at Aliso Canyon last fall. The proposed rules require more inspections of all surface facilities, existing and new, including those offshore.

Cheri Derohanian, who lives in Porter Ranch near the site of the blowout, says the state must do everything it can to keep this from happening again.

"The amount of pollution that was released was catastrophic," she said. "It made 15,000 out of 30,000 Porter Ranch residents relocate. They closed the schools. And the sustained 4-month period of stress was awful."

The draft rules, which were released in May, originally contained a loophole that allowed companies to step down their inspections to once a year if they found no issues after several clean quarterly inspections. Conservation groups argued that this would incentivize companies not to find leaks. Now the Air Resources Board will require inspections to be done every three months, indefinitely.

Professor Barbara Sattler from the University of San Francisco Public Health Program and a founding board member for the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments says methane leaks exacerbate respiratory problems and contribute mightily to climate change. So she supports the new rules.

"By increasing the numbers of required inspections and keeping them required at a high frequency it’s going to catch the methane leaks at an early stage," she said.

The rules will get a second hearing later this year before being considered for final approval.

Suzanne Potter/Alfonso López-Collada, Public News Service - CA