California Governor Orders Offsets for Porter Ranch Methane Leak
The company behind the massive Porter Ranch methane leak, Southern California Gas, will have to pay for a mitigation program to offset the climate impact of the release, under an emergency order signed last week by Gov. Jerry Brown.
“The California Air Resources Board, in consultation with appropriate state agencies, shall develop a program to fully mitigate the leak’s emissions of methane by March 31, 2016,” the order states. The work “shall be funded by the Southern California Gas Company, be limited to projects in California, and prioritize projects that reduce short-lived climate pollutants.”
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The leak “is the largest known emissions source of its kind and comes during a growing realization of the magnitude of methane emissions associated with the oil and gas industry and the critical role that the gas plays in global warming,” InsideClimate News reports, citing Mark Brownstein of the Environmental Defense Fund.
“This is such a dramatic case that, almost by definition, it’s going to break new ground in terms of our understanding of the challenge that is in front of us—from a regulatory standpoint, and from a business practice standpoint,” said Brownstein, vice president of EDF’s climate and energy program. “It will also likely break new ground on what’s expected of companies if and when these problems occur.”
McKenna notes that natural gas “is composed primarily of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that, in the first two decades after it is released, is 84 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.”