A state appeals court issued an order late Friday that blocks the Southern California Gas Co. from restarting injections of natural gas at the Aliso Canyon storage facility near Porter Ranch, just hours after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge denied the county’s request to stop operations.
Saying he had no authority over state regulators, L.A. County Superior Court Judge John Wiley ruled Friday afternoon that he can’t stop natural gas injections from resuming into wells in Aliso Canyon.
Wiley made the ruling inside a packed hearing room at a courthouse in the Westlake area of Los Angeles. He said he had to deny the county’s request for an injunction that would prevent the Southern California Gas Co. from restarting operations because of two state statutes that barred him from issuing a restraining order.
He also said the county’s case for halting injections was unconvincing. The county says there is enough natural gas already in the wells to cover “worst case gas reliability scenario.” But Wiley was unswayed.
“When winter comes and Los Angeles needs gas for heating, the County proposes to use Aliso Canyon only for emergency purposes,” Wiley noted in his ruling. “The County … does not, however, set out the details of this worst case scenario. How hard will the coming winter be? How cold will it get and for how long?”
The first ruling came as a shock and disappointment to Porter Ranch residents, who for 17 months have held rallies and petition drives and have called on Gov. Jerry Brown to step in and authorize shutting down the Aliso Canyon natural gas field above their homes.
That’s where in 2015, a massive natural gas leak…