by Walter Brasch
On Oct. 23, Southern California Gas technicians discovered a leak of methane from a failed casing on one of the pipes in its Alisa Canyon storage facility, about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
The company estimates it will be the end of March until it can plug that leak from the pipe that is about 9,000 feet deep.
About 77,000 tons of methane, a greenhouse gas that can widen the ozone hole in the atmosphere, have already gone into the air.
Residents in the area have complained of nausea, dizziness, headaches and nosebleeds from the sulfur-like odor that is put into natural gas to identify it.
Residents of about 3,000 households have been relocated. Hundreds are now living in hotel rooms, and will be there for at least two more months.
The L.A. Unified School District closed two schools until March 2016.
The Federal Aviation Administration banned flights under 2,000 feet from going within a half-mile of the leak.
Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for the area.
It is the worst methane leak in U.S. history, amounting to about 15 percent of all hourly greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.
A reminder: The leak began almost three months ago.
This past week, the major TV networks reported it.
Those of us who are in the anti-fracking movement have known about this leak almost from the day it first occurred. Many of us have written about it.
There is one critical question. Why have the mainstream national media not reported this catastrophe much earlier?
Here are two possible answers. First, the media have laid off thousands of reporters, especially those who cover the environment, in an attempt to raise corporate profits.
And, second, they are too busy channeling what Donald Trump says to devote much time to domestic issues, especially ones that directly affect Americans.
[Dr. Brasch is an award-winning journalist with 40 years experience in newspapers, magazines, and as a multimedia writer-producer. He is also the author of 20 books, the latest one is Fracking Pennsylvania.]