The Interior initiative will be the first federal regulation of methane emissions from existing wells.
That would have reduced the methane's impact on the environment somewhat while Southern California Gas, the company that owns the Aliso Canyon facility, finished drilling the relief well to plug the underground reservoir feeding the leak.
"It doesn't give much comfort to me, and I don't think it'll give much comfort to the residents", Nagy said. "We need to start with some sort of movement on existing infrastructure".
Meanwhile, Southern California Gas Co. last week said it had found higher-than-normal levels of a cancer-causing chemical more times than previously reported.
An infrared video by the Environmental Defense Fund shows the methane gas pouring from the leaking well at the rate of 110,000 pounds per hour, making it the largest gas leak in US history. They have attributed the acrid fumes to additives in the gas. Click on the graphic for a larger view. "We have a big opportunity to protect public health and make the industry more efficient, protect public health and make more progress on climate change".
"Some people had just no symptoms at all and were in the geographic area and just said it smells bad", said Bert Eichold, a county health officer at the time.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District postponed voting on an order of abatement requiring Southern California Gas Co.to stop the leak until concluding the final phase of the hearing process Wednesday, agency spokesman Sam Atwood said.
The company normally pumps surplus supplies of natural gas underground beneath the site in summer when energy demand is low and draws it back out in winter.
The attorneys said they have videotapes showing leakage from the wellsite taken last week and a month earlier, alleging that the volumes appear to be the same. Some venting and flaring is necessary at the beginning of a well's life, particularly if pipelines aren't available to take the fossil fuel.
Because it has displaced a substantial amount of coal for electricity generation, natural gas has helped reduce U.S. Carbon dioxide emissions from our power plants by 18 percent since their peak in 2005.
Industry representatives say a lack of pipelines is the real problem. "Scientists agree natural gas is not toxic and that its odorant is harmless at the minute levels at which it is added to natural gas", the company said in a statement.
What is Colorado doing to monitor and control methane leaks?