For immediate release
Sacramento, California — In an eleventh-hour reversal, the California Senate Appropriations Committee passed SB 1486, the bill to shut down SoCalGas’ Aliso Canyon storage facility, after rigging it with numerous amendments undermining the effectiveness of the bill. Among the victims of the bill are the 2027 shutdown schedule and any language creating a moratorium on the use of Aliso Canyon as anything other than a last resort. Climate activists immediately criticized the amendments.
“The Appropriations Committee amendments to SB 1486 are shameful,” said Andrea Vega, Southern California organizer with Food & Water Watch. “But even worse than the duplicity of Senate leaders in gutting this bill is Governor Newsom’s utter failure to speak out on behalf of closing Aliso Canyon. Sempra is a powerful pressure group and we knew going into this fight that we were facing a commercial interest with money to burn and not caring about the people sacrificed to its results. We need Governor Newsom to take up this fight in the name of justice and his climate agenda – we can’t have either while Aliso Canyon is still in operation. SB 1486 is no longer the bold legislation championed by Senator Stern, and Newsom is the only hope for the courageous climate action we need.
In the first three months of this year alone, Sempra Energy, the parent company of SoCalGas, spent nearly $2 million lobbying the California legislature. Among the appropriations committee, recipients of Sempra money include Senator Portantino (D-25) ($22,250), Senator Bradford (D-35) ($34,300), Senator Jones (R-38) ($35,000). Senate Pro Tempore Speaker Toni Atkins (D-39) received $37,000.
While Governor Newsom has mandated an expedited process for the site’s closure, he has refused to publicly support SB 1486 or any effort to solidify a closure timetable. The Public Utilities Commission voted to increase the site’s storage capacity in November 2021 despite strong community opposition. The 2015 gas explosion that made Aliso Canyon’s name synonymous with disaster sickened thousands of residents, many of whom still suffer from health effects like cancer and asthma today.
Contact: Jessica Gable, (202) 683-2478, [email protected]