Since a gas leak erupted outside LA on October 23rd, over 83,000 metric tons of methane have escaped to the atmosphere, prompting public officials to evacuate the neighboring community of Porter Ranch. But as a disturbing new analysis shows, a much broader swath of LA is now drowning in methane.
Armed with a laser gas analyzer that can sniff out airborne methane with parts-per-billion precision, Phillips and Ackley drove around the LA area measuring methane concentrations for a period of five days. Every time their analyzer detected elevated gas levels, it plotted the numbers to Google Earth. The red bars on their maps indicate where they drove, with higher bars corresponding to higher methane concentrations.
This shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise—after all, we’re talking one of the largest methane leaks in history here—but the new data may put added pressure on SoCalGas to expand the gas leak relocation area. So far, the gas company has evacuated over 2,000 residents living within a mile of the leak, who have reported dizziness, nausea, fatigue and other symptoms. Yesterday, Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander called on SoCalGas to extend relocation to adjacent areas in the San Fernando valley.
A zoomed-out view of methane pollution surrounding Porter Ranch, LA, via Home Energy Efficiency Team
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Images via Home Energy Efficiency Team