It has now been more than a year since the Aliso Canyon gas leak temporarily shuttered one of this region’s most critical pieces of energy infrastructure. The impact on adjacent communities was significant, but after much work, the leak was stopped and new, stringent safety measures have been implemented. Yet, the facility still sits idle. It’s time to change that.

Many of this region’s largest businesses and critical service providers depend on natural gas to operate, often 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These facilities include hospitals, universities, refineries, manufacturers, transit operators, airports, ports, and electric generators. Even a small disruption in service can have a significant impact on customers and employees. Minor disruptions mean that customers are at risk and employees aren’t able to go to work and collect essential paychecks. As indicated by the State’s “Aliso Canyon Winter Risk Assessment Technical Report,” businesses have limited ability to switch fuel and may not be able to comply fully or quickly with a curtailment order, increasing the risk of power outages.

Los Angeles businesses were fortunate not to experience significant power outages this past summer, however many incurred the expense of developing alternative plans to use higher emission energy sources. State-imposed measures also made it more difficult and costly for large users to manage their energy needs. Not being able to rely on natural gas from Aliso Canyon is jeopardizing energy reliability and undermining our region’s air quality and climate goals. As we approach winter, we cannot afford to bet all of our chips on the assumption that mild weather will continue.

We urge Mayor Garcetti, the L.A. City Council and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to work with the Governor and applicable regulatory agencies to oversee a safe certification and re-opening of Aliso Canyon. The permanent closure of one of the region’s most critical energy assets would be a major hit to our economy and the energy security for our businesses and residents. The business community must do all we can to conserve energy during this difficult time in order to prevent energy shortages (sign up here for information on how to conserve). State and local governments should assure the safe re-opening of Aliso Canyon soon.