Culver City seeks timeline for closing natural gas storage facility

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Wave Staff Report

CULVER CITY — The Culver City Council has approved a resolution calling on the state of California to develop a timeline and plan for closing down the Southern California Gas Company’s natural gas storage facility in Playa del Rey.

The facility has been the site of numerous leaks and blowouts, including a vent stack explosion in 2013 that caused a 100-foot flame to shoot into the air. The site was forced to shut down for over a year in 2011 after a series of leaks were discovered by state regulators.

Community pressure in support of closing the site has steadily grown in the wake of 2015’s Aliso Canyon Gas blowout.

With more clean energy innovations around battery storage, energy efficiency and smart grid technologies emerging every day, advocates say the need for natural gas could be a thing of the past. Such alternatives are only projected to grow in Los Angeles as the city prepares to release its LA100 study, which aims to map out the city’s path to 100% renewable energy. Given these developments, the community has demanded more urgent action from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“We’ve known for years that natural gas storage facilities like the one at Playa del Rey do not have a future in our energy system or in our neighborhoods,” said Ethan Senser, Southern California organizer for Food & Water Watch. “It’s time that we started planning for that reality at Playa del Rey. While SoCalGas squeezes out profit from the gas field, residents, workers, and the public at large are left as afterthoughts. “Governor Newsom has a responsibility to put the needs of the community first by following Culver City’s lead and committing to building real solutions for the safe, fair and equitable transition away from natural gas.”

“We are grateful to the City Council in Culver City continuing to show environmental leadership,” said Marcia Hanscom, executive director of Ballona Institute. “Most decision-makers get overwhelmed with the enormity of the necessary task of moving away from fossil fuels, but Culver City shows the way, taking one step at a time.”

 The resolution from Culver City follows that of the L.A. Democratic Party, which issued a similar resolution last September. Culver City modeled its language after another resolution by Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin.

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