Californians come to grips with fracking risks during state of emergency

fracking risks

Creative Commons: Earthworks, 2015

As the Porter Ranch fracking disaster threatens to plunge the US into the most significant environmental crisis since the Gulf Oil Spill, Governor Jerry Brown ordered “all necessary and viable actions” be taken to contain a massive methane leak at the Aliso Canyon gas facility on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

The leak, which occurred at the Southern California Gas Company’s fracking facility, continues to spew methane into the sky for nearly 12 weeks at a rate that now accounts for about a quarter of the state’s total emissions of methane.

The company claims that the leaked methane is harmless to the health of the families of Porter Ranch, though residents have been complaining of nausea, headaches and other symptoms, and a lawyer with the Environmental Defense Fund even called the leak “an environmental and public health catastrophe.”

More than 6,000 residents of Porter Ranch, California have applied to be relocated away from the fumes, though just over 2,000 have actually been relocated by the Southern California Gas Company.

Key Points

  • Failure to transition away from fossil fuels risks jeopardizing people’s health. The Porter Ranch fracking disaster happened so close to a major population centre, and beyond the mental stress resulting from relocating thousands of families, many of them are experiencing medical symptoms like nausea and headaches. Whether it’s methane from fracking for natural gas or dirty air near coal power plants, fossil fuels come with health risks.

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