Just outside of Los Angeles, over 83,000 metric tons of methane have been released into the atmosphere. So much so, that planes have been told that flying over the area could cause them to fail. The area, known as Porter Ranch, is now a cesspool of methane gas. The news and media has pitched this as an issue with “Porter Ranch, California,” slightly negating the actual affected impact reality. The reality is that Los Angeles, one of the largest cities in the world, is residing in a catastrophic methane leak. Don’t take what I said to be conspiracy, the fact is, the gas leak is in Porter Ranch, but the true ramifications and fall-out are now a problem for a mega-city (and that could be a semi-conspiracy, stay with me please).
Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) has been following the fall-out for a bit and what they’ve determined is tragic. They used a laser gas analyzer to determine the quantity of methane gas in the air around and inside of Los Angeles. They used a range of 5 days worth of information. In other words, they drove around LA 5 days in a row, measuring methane gas that was present in the air. What they found was potentially the largest ever recorded gas leak in history. Check it out for yourself.
Video of what might be the largest natural gas leak ever recorded. Much more analysis needs to be performed. This data is from Jan 8th and 10th, 2016, two small snapshots of the leak. Boston University Professor Nathan Phillips and Bob Ackley of Gas Safety drove a high precision GIS-enabled natural gas analyzer down the roads around the gas leak to create these images. The red shows where they drove and the levels of methane they found is shown by the height of the peaks.ADVERTISEMENT
The methane they found present around the Porter Ranch area is elevated up to 67 times.
But why is using the city name “Porter Ranch” rather than “Los Angeles” such a big deal? Because for now, the evacuation zone determined by SoCalGas is Porter Ranch, a small city north of Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a far larger, far more expensive evacuation zone. The methane leak isn’t expected to be resolved until late February, or even into March. SoCalGas would likely enjoy keeping the Internet headlines contained to using “Porter Ranch,” an unrecognizable city name, over “Los Angeles.” But the reality of the situation, when you follow these new findings, don’t reflect that as being as accurate anymore. SoCalGas may hold a much broader responsibility and people are starting to notice.
According to The Daily News, Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander shares the sentiment that the evacuation zones should be expanded. This is probably a pretty big deal if you are SoCalGas, who’d much prefer the issue be relevant only to Porter Ranch, an unknown suburb of the greater Los Angeles area. The consequences here involve manpower and money (and well, people’s general well-being which seems to be put pretty far down on the list of priorities).
Exposure to methane causes nosebleeds, headaches, nausea and a variety of other ailments. Even animals are affected. It isn’t good, folks, no matter what your address might inevitably be. I can’t even say that I trust the current resolution timeline at this juncture. The long term effects here could be sadly not even realized until the future (or even into future generations).