The California Energy Commission hired Conley to do the initial monitoring flights in November. He has continued to monitor the site, and his most recent fly-over was Dec. 23.
Burning Natural Gas Can Be As Bad As Coal
The leaking well, Standard Sesnon No. 25, is used to send natural gas from transmission lines down more than 8,500 feet below the ground at Southern California Gas's Aliso Canyon storage facility near Los Angeles.
The leak contains mostly methane, a greenhouse gas that is many times more potent than carbon dioxide. Porter Ranch residents downwind from the methane leak have complained of headaches, nausea, dizziness and nosebleeds. New Scientist reports that the leaking gas also contains benzene, a known carcinogen, and mercaptans, which are believed to be causing headaches and nausea. In November, measurements showed benzene air concentrations were six times higher than safe levels, the magazine said.
Map of 65,000 Old Mines Across U.S. Reveals Environmental Risks
The Los Angeles Daily News reports that Southern California Gas has been digging in an effort to plug the leak, but that the job may not be completed until March. The company reportedly has spent $50 million on measures to cope with the leak, including temporarily moving some residents and installing air purifiers in about 3,000 homes.