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Proposal to keep Aliso Canyon gas storage facility temporarily closed advances in California Senate

A tarp covers the well where the 2015 gas leak occurred at the Aliso Canyon storage facility. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
A tarp covers the well where the 2015 gas leak occurred at the Aliso Canyon storage facility. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

California senators advanced legislation Tuesday that would keep the gas storage facility at Aliso Canyon closed until a study is completed on the 2015 leak that forced thousands to evacuate their homes. 

However, the measure was modified by the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee to address concerns that Southern California could see power outages without a supply of gas from Aliso Canyon.

Under the amendment, the governor could declare an emergency that would allow the facility to start operating again.

“I’m feeling good about it," said Sen. Henry Stern (D-Los Angeles), who authored the legislation, Senate Bill 57.

Because it's considered an urgency measure that would take effect immediately, the legislation requires a two-thirds vote in both the state Senate and the Assembly. 

The measure was opposed by the Southern California Gas Co., which said a study was unnecessary and the facility was safe.

"It’s time to resume [gas] injections,” said Rodger R. Schwecke, vice president for gas transmission and storage.

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