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State of emergency declared over the largest natural gas leak in US, California


A state of emergency was declared over a large natural gas leak pouring high quantities of methane and other gases into a Los Angeles neighborhood on January 6, 2016. Numerous residents reported health issues and thousands of people have been forced to evacuate the area.

The leak of natural gas was first observed by the Southern California Gas Company in the Porter Ranch facility on October 23, 2015, and is now the largest natural gas leak ever reported in the US. Mitchell Englander, the LA Councilman has referred to the incident as "one of the most devastating environmental disasters in the history of California".

Video credit: AP

Jerry Brown, California Governor, stated he was prompted to issue an emergency state by the residents of the Porter Ranch community due to "prolonged and continuing" nature of the event.

Up to 1 200 tons of methane has been released into the atmosphere since October, and it will take another several months to contain the leak, according to experts.

A number of measures have been taken, and Brown instructed the gas company to devise a backup plan if the blowout fail can't be closed and ordered emergency regulations for other gas-storage facilities across California.

YouTube video

Video credit: PorterRanchLawsuit.com

Residents frequently complained about nosebleeds, nausea and other health problems from the gas fumes. Thousands of people have been relocated and LA school board have also declared an emergency situation, moving students out of two schools in the affected area.

The gas leak has now produced about a quarter of the state's total methane output. The site in question is one of the country's largest underground natural-gas storage facilities and is capable of holding an amount needed to fuel Southern California for one month.

Featured image: Natural gas leak, California, December 2015. Image credit: PorterRanchLawsuit.com

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