- Furkan Yalcin
SACRAMENTO - Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo announced her opposition to the new Aliso Canyon proposal, joining with area legislators who shared their concerns about increasing storage at the facility before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and federal authorities have completed their investigations into the causes of the winter gas price spikes.
Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo (AD40), Senator Henry Stern (SD27), and Congressman Brad Sherman (CD32) collectively represent the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, where the largest methane leak in U.S. history forced thousands to flee their homes, many experiencing health impacts of the leak. They came out in solidarity with impacted communities against the proposal:
“This proposal is an unwelcome surprise. SoCalGas says more use of this dangerous gas field will keep prices down, but there are still too many unanswered questions to proceed. What responsibility does the Gas Company and their parent company Sempra owe Southern California ratepayers? If more storage can bring down prices, why didn’t SoCalGas Company use their available storage during last year’s spike instead of buying gas at unprecedented high rates? Federal and state investigations are asking these, and other, questions in order to understand the cause of price spikes, however, this proposed decision appears premature.
The impacted communities deserve reassurance that this proposal will not undercut the Governor’s commitment to closure and that the proposed increase is, in fact, necessary. Such assurance can be made, alongside this decision, if the CPUC finalized their long delayed, but well proposed, decision to responsibly phase out Aliso. This proposal goes in the opposite direction.”
Background on the Proposal
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is proposing to increase the maximum capacity at Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Facility, against both the community’s wishes and Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan to shut down the facility. The maximum capacity of the facility was reduced following the 2015 leak as a safety precaution, and many outstanding questions still remain. The current proposal is based on insufficient evidence that Aliso capacity is connected to the price of natural gas, an assertion that comes straight from SoCalGas without any support and before completing a very important federal and state investigation. In fact, earlier this year, when natural gas prices were spiking, instead of using the natural gas already stored at Aliso and other area facilities, SoCalGas purchased more expensive natural gas. If using what’s in storage was a solution to the increase in natural gas prices, SoCalGas could have already done that this year. Using a vulnerable moment for families in our community as a way to lobby for increased storage at Aliso is disingenuous at best.
Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo was elected to the California State Assembly in November of 2022 to represent the 40th Assembly District, representing the Northwest San Fernando Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley. She currently serves as Chair of the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. Prior to her election, Assemblywoman Schiavo was a Nurse Advocate and Small Business Owner who worked in the labor movement for more than 20 years. Throughout her career, Assemblywoman Schiavo helped deliver healthcare, including reproductive healthcare, to more than one million people. In the Northwest San Fernando Valley, she co-founded an organization that helped secure housing for Veterans experiencing homelessness, has delivered more than 50,000 meals to people in need, and increased resources to help keep our communities safe. Assemblywoman Schiavo lives in Chatsworth with her daughter Sofia where they love to hike in the Santa Susana Mountains.