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The natural gas leak in Los Angeles that spewed methane into the air for several months is now considered to be the worst man-made climate disaster in U.S. history.
The Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility emitted about 5 billion cubic feet of methane over the course of three months, the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution from any site in the entire country, according to a new study published in the journal Science. That is equivalent to annual volume of emissions from 600,000 cars.
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The event was truly a disaster, but since the methane spewing non-stop from October until February was invisible, it did not capture the public’s imagination in the same way that the BP Deepwater Horizon calamity did. The Aliso Canyon disaster will setback California’s entire climate change effort – the gas was equivalent to double the volume of methane emissions from the entire Los Angeles Basin.
The scientists who studied the event said that the emissions were so large that they initially thought that their instruments were not measuring correctly. But “it became obvious that there wasn’t anything wrong with the instruments,” Stephen Conley, one of the authors of the report, told The Washington Post. “This was just a huge event.”
The facility is owned by Southern California Gas Co.
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com