Regulators propose tougher rules for California natural gas fields after Aliso Canyon leak

In the wake of the historic Aliso Canyon natural gas leak, California oil and gas regulators on Friday proposed new rules to ensure safe underground gas fields throughout the state.

The Department of Conservation released the proposed regulations aimed to prevent further leaks and include stronger well construction standards and requirements for daily testing of wellheads.

Once adopted, the rules would supplant emergency rules adopted after the four-month gas leak at Aliso Canyon run by Southern California Gas Company.

“We believe these will be seen as the most comprehensive and stringent regulations for underground gas storage in the nation,” said Ken Harris, who as State Oil and Gas Supervisor heads the DOC’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, in a statement. “Our priority is ensuring public safety and environmental protection.”

A public comment period on the proposed regulations will run through 5 p.m. on July 13 and include two public hearings.

Environmentalists and local residents have called for the Aliso Canyon storage facility to be shut down. Gas company officials and business groups say the 3,600-acre field is needed to ensure reliable fuel for Los Angeles energy needs.

The state has a dozen below-ground natural gas storage fields and 14 active reservoirs, according to the Public Utilities Commission, with a working gas capacity of roughly 290 billion cubic feet.

Working gas refers to the volume that can be withdrawn from a storage facility…

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