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Remember Aliso Canyon? SoCalGas tried to delay the security test

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Remember Aliso Canyon? SoCalGas tried to delay the security test

The state regulator has blocked the efforts of Southern California Gas Co. to delay the safety testing needed at the company’s Aliso Canyon storage field, a record-breaking gas leak that spewed more than 100,000 tons of methane trapping heat into the atmosphere and became sick. residents of the nearest Porter Ranch.

The company is asking the governor Gavin Newsom’s government to temporarily suspend the requirement that all gas storage wells at Aliso be tested every two years, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and related residential stay orders, newly released documents show.

The country’s oil and gas regulator, known as CalGEM, denied the request on Monday.

Uduak State Oil and Gas Superintendent-Joe Ntuk said deep letter that the well testing requirements “are a central part of the comprehensive regulations adopted by CalGEM in response to the Aliso Canyon well incident, and they are central to CalGEM’s commitment that all possible steps will be taken to ensure safe operation of the project’s underground gas storage. “

“CalGEM understands that compliance with [mechanical integrity testing] the requirements for gas storage wells are challenging and that COVID-19 has added to that challenge, “Ntuk wrote. “Nonetheless, compliance with recently adopted regulations is very important and CalGEM will only approve changes in testing frequencies that are consistent with the regulatory framework.”

Requests from SoCalGas for an extension of six months have never been reported before.

SoCalGas executive Rodger Schwecke highlighted security rules that were simultaneously suspended by the company in a June 4 interview with The Times – less than three weeks after the latest utility request for pending enforcement.

Schwecke said the requirement that all wells must be tested every two years was part of an improved safety regime that made Aliso Canyon and other gas companies’ underground storage fields “the safest in the state, if not the safest in the country.”

“Of the 66 wells that we currently have available at Aliso Canyon, we will have 30 or 40 of them reviewed this year – and they must be assessed every two years,” Schwecke said at the time.

Issam Najm, president of the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council, said in an email that the gas company’s request to postpone testing of wells is “another example of how SoCalGas seems to treat safety measures only as a regulatory burden, not an integral component of responsible operations of dangerous facilities such as Aliso Canyon . “

Canyon Aliso gas storage field and the Porter Ranch neighborhood in May.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

In a statement sent by email, SoCalGas spokeswoman Christine Detz said the company “was ahead of all other operators in the state, fully completing a baseline assessment for all underground gas storage wells earlier than required by regulatory requirements.” This utility is continuing testing the next well, which must be completed by October 1.

“We believe the six-month extension to complete the second round of assessments does not pose a safety risk, while supporting the reliability of natural gas services for customers next winter,” Detz said. “However, we will meet October 1, 2020, date.”

Aliso Canyon has been a flashpoint in a debate about how quickly Califorina might eliminate natural gas, the planet’s heating fossil fuel used to heat, cook, and produce electricity. SoCalGas, a shareholder-owned utility that serves 22 million people, has carried out a strong campaign to maintain its role in strengthening the community and considers Aliso a key tool to maintain reliability and limit costs for consumers.

Newsom said he was committed to shutting down Aliso, and last year he asked the state Public Utilities Commission to “speed up planning” for its closure. But in the meantime, the commission has allowed SoCalGas to dramatically increase the use of facilities since Newsom took office in 2019, compared to two years after the October 2015 explosion, when Aliso was hardly used at all.

In a sent a letter to Newsom on Monday, three area A MPs – state lawmaker Christy Smith, state Senator Henry Stern and Rep. Brad Sherman – urging the governor to direct the utility commission “to act immediately to prevent future unnecessary withdrawals from Aliso Canyon.”

“Excessive reliance on these facilities sets a dangerous precedent by delaying the cessation of facility use before the proposed closing date, and by not unnecessarily delaying the transition to the country’s renewable energy supply goals in the future,” the lawmaker wrote.

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An in-depth analysis commissioned by state officials determined the October 2015 explosion was caused by a damaged well casing in a former oil field, located in the Santa Susana Mountains north of the Los Angeles city limits. The outer casing of the SS-25 well broke due to microbial corrosion caused by contact with ground water, the consulting company Blade Energy Partners found.

Blade concluded SoCalGas “did not carry out a detailed follow-up inspection or analysis after a previous leak” at Aliso Canyon will go back to the 1970s and “does not have any form of risk assessment that focuses on good integrity management,” according to the Public Utilities Commission summary consultant findings. The consultant also found that “updated well safety practices and regulations were adopted by [CalGEM] address most of the root causes of leakage “identified during the investigation,” the commission wrote.

One of those the rules is a requirement that all wells undergo mechanical intensity tests at least every two years.

In a March 23 Letters To CalGEM, SoCalGas executive Gina Orozco described the gas company’s concern “over the continuation of certain activities that are not considered important or essential for the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas services in this emergency,” referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, Orozco writes, “SoCalGas requests that CalGEM consider a temporary delay for a good two-year reassessment” at utility underground storage facilities, including Aliso.

“This temporary suspension will allow employees, contractors and agency personnel, who need to witness certain activities related to this work, to be fully involved in maintaining federal, state and local social distance and to stay at home if possible,” he wrote.

The SoCalGas crew tried to stop the flow of natural gas leaks from the Aliso Canyon storage field on November 3, 2015.

The SoCalGas crew and technical experts try to stop the flow of natural gas that leaked from the Aliso Canyon storage field on November 3, 2015.

(Javier Mendoza / Associated Press)

Orozco did not suggest a time frame for lifting the requested temporary suspension. But he urged oil and gas regulators to approve the “risk management plan” proposed by SoCalGas in 2019, where the company could test several wells in Aliso no more than once every 10 years, not every two years, based on an assessment of the risks posed by each well.

When CalGEM does not grant the request, the utility tries again.

SoCalGas Executive, Paul Goldstein write to CalGEM on May 18 requested a six-month enforcement delay, which would extend the deadline for the next round of well integrity tests from October 1, 2020 to April 1, 2021. In addition to discussing the impact of the pandemic, Goldstein wrote that the extension “will protect gas deliveries for our winter customers coming. “

The claim echoes previous arguments made by gas companies for state officials to allow the use of the larger Aliso Canyon.

The Public Utilities Commission has relaxed some of its restrictions on Aliso. But SoCalGas believes that continuing restrictions on gas withdrawals can create supply constraints that sometimes force consumers to pay more for energy, including during the summer heat wave of 2018 when a surge in prices landed Southern Califonria Edison customers with an unexpected $ 850 million bill.

Critics of the gas company say that there will be no supply constraints – and no price spikes – if SoCalGas can fix the main pipeline that runs through the desert to Los Angeles. The pipeline has been out of service mostly in the last three years.

Critics also say that SoCalGas has a financial interest in convincing regulators that Aliso is needed to provide cheap and reliable energy. Amenities worth $ 769 million to the parent company of the gas company, Sempra Energy based in San Diego, at the end of 2019. As long as it is still used, SoCalGas customers will be ready to pay for the company’s investment, plus shareholder profits.

Hollin Kretzmann, a lawyer at the nonprofit Biodiversity Center, criticized SoCalGas for promoting the public’s two-year testing requirements even when he secretly asked permission from regulators to reassess storage wells in Aliso less frequently.

“The company is the last company that must pass safety and environmental regulations,” he said.

In a May 18 gas company letter, Goldstein said the requested enforcement delay would only apply to wells that had passed the baseline inspection. He also cited new federal guidelines that do not require gas storage wells to be tested every two years.

“Industry and experts continue to evaluate the risks of incoming well inspections. Although this research is still new and ongoing, until now there has been no fact or science based research that confirms that a two year re-evaluation interval that requires entry of wells reduces the risk of damage to life, health, property, or natural resources. , “Goldstein wrote.

Tera Lecuona from Porter Ranch held a sign of protest at a hearing about the October 2015 explosion at Aliso Canyon.

Tera Lecuona from Porter Ranch held a sign of protest during an audience in Granada Hills during October 2015 at the Southern California Gas Co. storage facility. Aliso Canyon.

(Richard Vogel / Associated Press)

CalGEM posted a utility letter – as well as other requests from oil and gas companies seeking to extend regulatory deadlines due to COVID-19 – on the website last week. A spreadsheet shows that the agency has approved six requests, rejected 18 and is still considering 13 other requests, including one from oil giant Chevron to delay repairing 19 wells in Kern Regency for one year.

State officials fined Chevron $ 2.7 million last year after the Kern County spill saw more than 1.3 million gallons of oil and wastewater seep into a dry riverbed from one of the company’s wells in Cymric Oil Field, about 35 miles west of Bakersfield.

One of California’s other major gas utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric, submitted a request similar to that submitted by SoCalGas, for its McDonald Island storage field in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

PG&E acknowledged that it had expected difficulties in completing the 2020 well inspection planned even before the pandemic. But with COVID-19, PG&E writes, the company “anticipates well work schedules … so that the impact of completion of well work” is not possible on October 1.

CalGEM said it was still considering PG&E requests.

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Florida, Texas and California account for about one-fifth of the world’s new coronavirus cases

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Florida, Texas and California account for about one-fifth of the world's new coronavirus cases

Some one in five new cases of coronavirus reported around the world came from just three U.S. states — Florida, Texas and California, a new NBC News tally revealed Tuesday.

The 27,574 cases recorded in those states Monday accounted for 18.9 percent of the global total and represented more than a third of the 61,751 new cases reported in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the two-week death total in Texas was up 99 percent over the previous two weeks.

In Florida, the two-week death total rose by nearly 84 percent and in California it jumped by nearly 27 percent.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 3,407,556 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and the death toll was 136,832, NBC News figures showed.

Florida reported 9,194 more cases and 133 deaths from Monday. Texas added 7,489 more cases and 59 deaths. California recorded 5,063 more cases and 40 deaths.

Arizona, another state that has seen a big increase in new cases in recent weeks, reported 4,273 more infections and 92 more deaths.

Texas’ Hispanic community has been especially hard hit of late and Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democrat whose district includes the city of San Antonio, blamed President Donald Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for being “slow to test people, slow to trace the infection and slow to treat people.”

They “tried to pretend like it wasn’t a big problem because they didn’t want to end up on the news every day the way New York did, and that’s had an incredible effect on this community, and in the last three weeks, it’s really exploded,” Castro told MSBNC’s Garrett Haake.

Trump and Abbott have both been accused to not moving fast enough to combat the coronavirus and it wasn’t until this month that the Texas governor mandated wear a mask in public. Trump wore a mask for the first time in public just two days ago and earlier this month he predicted the pandemic would “just disappear.”

The staggering new sums emerged on the same day that Admiral Brett Giroir, the Assistant Secretary of Health, insisted on “Today” that “we’re turning the corner on the current outbreak.”

“We are all very concerned about the outbreak,” Giroir said. “About half the cases are in four states, Texas, California, Florida, and Arizona. But we are in a much different place now than we were several months ago, a much better place.”

Maybe. But 41 states have seen an increase in cases over the last two weeks and eight states have seen a spike of more than 100 percent over the last 14 days, according to NBC News’ Medical Unit.

And when Vice President Mike Pence arrived Tuesday in Louisiana to meet with local officials about the pandemic, Attorney General Mike Landry was not there to greet him on the tarmac because he has tested positive, local media reported.

“Out of an overabundance of caution with the Vice President coming to our state, I was tested for Cornavirus,” Landry wrote in an email to staffers. “Though experiencing no symptoms, I tested positive for COVID-19.”

In other developments:

  • U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, a Virginia Republican and member of the arch-conservative Freedom Caucus, announced he tested positive for the coronavirus. His diagnosis came five days after he and other members of the caucus appeared at a press conference where they stressed the need to reopen schools in the fall despite the pandemic. While Griffith brought a mask along, an NBC News producer who was there noted that Griffith didn’t wear it much.
  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan warned that he would shut down bars and eateries that fail to adhere to social distancing requirements or insist that patrons wear face mask while inside. “The vast majority of bars and restaurants in our state and in compliance, but some are flagrantly violating the law and endangering public health,” Hogan wrote. A Republican, Hogan has drawn widespread praise for taking decisive steps — well before the White House acted — to stop the spread of the coronavirus in his state.
  • The National Center for Assisted Living, which represents the nursing home industry, warned that the spike in new COVID-19 cases could “lead to a dramatic increase in cases in long term facilities.” In a letter to the National Governors Association, the group said speeding up testing is key to preventing another calamity.
  • Sen. Lindsay Graham, a South Carolina Republican and Trump ally, warned against any attempt to “undermine” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. NBC News has reported that the White House was seeking to discredit Fauci, whose more sober assessments of the pandemic have been colliding with the rosier outlook that Trump has been pushing.

    “We don’t have a Dr. Fauci problem,” Graham said. “I have all the respect in the world for Doctor Fauci, I think any effort to undermine him is not going to be productive, quite frankly.” Trump has also denied trying to torpedo Fauci.

“The amount of time it is taking to receive testing results is hurting the ability of long term facilities to fight the virus,” the letter states. “For nursing homes and assisted living communities to protect residents and staff, we need on-site testing with reliable and rapid results.

There was also a smidgen of troubling news out of New York, a state that back in April was posting Texas-sized case numbers and since then has succeeded in flattening the coronavirus curve.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported that 1.5 percent of the 60,045 COVID-19 tests performed on Monday came back positive.That is the highest positive rate in the state since June 5.

Cuomo also reported five more coronavirus deaths on Monday.

Two days earlier, the New York State Department of Health reporting there were zero COVID-19 deaths on Saturday the first time that has happened since March 13.

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Chiefs concur to a 4-calendar year offer with star defensive lineman Chris Jones

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The Kansas Town Chiefs have arrived at a four-calendar year offer with offer with star defensive lineman Chris Jones, in accordance to several studies.The information was initially noted by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.The news on Jones’ offer will come a 7 days after the Chiefs signed a deal with quarterback Patrick Mahomes to make him the best paid out player in sporting activities background.Jones explained from the beginning he wanted a very long-term deal with the Chiefs, but the club applied a non-exclusive franchise tag on him in March and the two sides had right up until July 15 to do the job out a new offer. As negotiations progressed into July, Jones signaled he was not pleased with the group by tweeting he may well sit out the 2020 time. When requested on Twitter about signing the franchise tag that would have tied him to the Chiefs on a a single-yr, $16 million deal, Jones responded, “Or I will not play. Leveon Bell instructed me about this.” Jones was chatting about his mate and star running again, who refused to signal a franchise tag and sat out an whole year.But that’s all in the previous now, immediately after the Chiefs have signed Jones to a deal that retains one particular of the crucial figures in the Super Bowl victory in Kansas Metropolis for quite some time.Jones was a Pro Bowl selection in 2019 and by means of 61 video games he has 33 sacks and 97 solo tackles. He’s greatly thought of as a person of the top defensive linemen in the NFL.

The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs have achieved a 4-12 months offer with deal with star defensive lineman Chris Jones, in accordance to several stories.

The information was to start with documented by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

The information on Jones’ deal arrives a 7 days after the Chiefs signed a offer with quarterback Patrick Mahomes to make him the maximum paid out player in athletics background.

Jones mentioned from the starting he wished a prolonged-time period deal with the Chiefs, but the club utilized a non-special franchise tag on him in March and the two sides experienced until finally July 15 to get the job done out a new deal.

As negotiations progressed into July, Jones signaled he wasn’t happy with the team by tweeting he could possibly sit out the 2020 period.

When questioned on Twitter about signing the franchise tag that would have tied him to the Chiefs on a just one-year, $16 million deal, Jones responded, “Or I won’t enjoy. Leveon Bell instructed me about this.” Jones was talking about his close friend and star managing back again, who refused to sign a franchise tag and sat out an full time.

But that’s all in the past now, right after the Chiefs have signed Jones to a deal that keeps a single of the important figures in the Super Bowl victory in Kansas City for rather some time.

Jones was a Professional Bowl assortment in 2019 and by means of 61 games he has 33 sacks and 97 solo tackles. He’s commonly deemed as a single of the top defensive linemen in the NFL.

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Trump vs Biden: Dwell 2020 Election Updates

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Trump vs Biden: Live 2020 Election Updates

For months in the course of the 2020 principal period, Mr. Trump bragged about his unbeaten report in Republican primaries. “64-,” his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, tweeted on June 3. “That’s the report of federal candidates in primaries or particular elections after they’ve been endorsed by @realdonaldtrump this cycle. Undefeated. Unprecedented.”

Considering that that tweet Trump-endorsed candidates have been on the dropping facet of 4 Republican primaries, slipping small in Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia. Now Tuesday’s contests bring 3 extra high-profile principal runoff contests that pit Mr. Trump from pillars of the area Republican Party.

The highest profile race is in Alabama, the place Jeff Sessions, the previous attorney common, is a long-shot to win again the Senate seat he held for 20 several years. Mr. Trump, however embittered by Mr. Sessions’s selection to recuse himself from the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian election interference, endorsed Tommy Tuberville, the former Auburn College football coach.

A Periods victory would symbolize a significant black eye for Mr. Trump. There is no Republican key prospect for whom he has campaigned more durable this year than Mr. Tuberville. Together with the numerous tweets denouncing Mr. Classes, Mr. Trump planned and then canceled an outdoor marketing campaign rally with the previous mentor and did a Monday night cell phone phone touting Mr. Tuberville.

In Texas, Mr. Trump endorsed in a pair of Dwelling contests to be decided Tuesday.

In the Panhandle, he’s backing Ronny Jackson, his former White Dwelling health practitioner, in opposition to Josh Winegarner, a local lobbyist who is endorsed by Representative Mac Thornberry, who is retiring just after 13 conditions. The main winner is sure to arrive to Congress — the district is amid the most Republican in the country.

And in southwest Texas, the president backed Tony Gonzales, a former Navy cryptologist, towards Raul Reyes, a previous Air Force officer who has an endorsement from Senator Ted Cruz. Representative Will Hurd, who narrowly received re-election in 2018, selected to retire relatively than compete in another race towards Gina Ortiz Jones, a Democrat. Mr. Hurd also endorsed Mr. Gonzales.

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