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Porter Ranch leak: Why were homes built so close to a gas well?

To the editor: It absolutely is beyond my comprehension why the "planned community" of Porter Ranch was ever built. ("Why the Porter Ranch gas leak could take months to fix," Jan. 2)

The developers and agencies that designed and approved this project clearly knew one of the largest natural gas storage facilities in the country was located near that area. After all, it had previously blown its lid and yet developers were allowed to build homes in close proximity to the facility.

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Now everybody is very upset with the Southern California Gas Co., whose facility was there before a single development was built. That facility should have had a no-build zone with a radius of five miles for as long as it was operational and until it was emptied of its fuel.

Mike Morris, Chatsworth

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To the editor: The Times' infrared photograph of Porter Ranch allows us to see the eruption of natural gas as a nasty, dark cloud.

If we looked at the world in infrared, we would see vast numbers of smaller but similar plumes leaking methane into the sky. That's because pipelines tend to corrode over time and leakage is inevitable. Compared to carbon dioxide, methane dissipates in the atmosphere quickly but in the short term it is a much more powerful greenhouse gas.

The thumb of climate change is already clearly visible in the severe droughts and unprecedented flooding being experienced around the world, the results of a rise in global temperature of 1 degree Celsius. We are "trying" to stay below 2 degrees, but not hard enough. Fossil fuels are still treated like the default energy source.

Renewable energy can bring about an economic boom while greatly diminishing pollution. Dithering will prove very costly in both dollars and lives.

Grace Bertalot, Anaheim 

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