Environment & Science

The environmental disaster that shook L.A.'s reliance on natural gas

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 15:  Activists stage a protest outside the Environmental Protection Agency January 15, 2016 in Washington, DC. Activists urged the EPA to shut down operations of Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon storage facility, which has been leaking huge amount of methane, sickening residents in the neighboring Porter Ranch, California.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 15: Activists stage a protest outside the Environmental Protection Agency January 15, 2016 in Washington, DC. Activists urged the EPA to shut down operations of Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon storage facility, which has been leaking huge amount of methane, sickening residents in the neighboring Porter Ranch, California. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Listen to story

04:55
Download this story 2.0MB

The nation’s largest-ever gas leak poured 100,000 metric tons of methane from the Aliso Canyon gas storage field into the atmosphere. The 2015 blowout near Porter Ranch has cost Southern California Gas Company more than one billion dollars, and generated lawsuits from thousands of plaintiffs, many who say they were sickened by the gas.

But the Aliso Canyon disaster also had another long-reaching effect. It shook LA’s long reliance on natural gas, and accelerated the transition to green energy.

This story is part of the Elemental series "Coming Clean," a report on the traditions of oil and gas in the western United States and the transitions to renewable energy sources.

Elemental: Covering Sustainability is a multimedia collaboration between Cronkite News, Arizona PBS, KJZZ, KPCC, Rocky Mountain PBS and PBS SoCal.