Now that the Porter Ranch gas leak has been temporarily stopped there will be renewed pressure to shut down the entire storage area of 115 wells. Local and state officials are walking a tight rope between the demand made by some environmentalists and residents who suffered from the leak to close the entire storage facility and the consequences of closing a major energy reserve.
Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander, whose district encompasses Porter Ranch, confronted the tricky question of shutting down the facility at one of the many citizen meetings he set up in the community. Englander said he believed in the “Shut It All Down” theme, but he asked the follow-up question: “Then what?”
It’s an appropriate query. While guaranteeing the safety of the Porter Ranch and neighboring communities is paramount, officials also have to be concerned about Southern California’s energy needs.