Porter Ranch Gas Well Blowout Expected to Have Global ImpactJanuary 5, 2016
Porter Ranch was once said to have some of the cleanest air in the Los Angeles valley.
Now, the rotten egg scent of hydrogen sulfide, a foul-smelling additive to the naturally colorless, odorless fuel, continues to permeate the air.
Recent reports have speculated that the disaster has the ability to alter the entire climate of the state of California. The Environmental Defense Fund estimates that over 78,000 metric tons of methane have been released into the atmosphere since the leak occurred. They further report that the leakage, on a day-to-day basis, is the equivalent of the 20-year climate impact of driving seven million cars per day. A similar description has likened the expulsion of emissions to “eight or nine coal plants.”
How Will This Affect the Planet?
The South Coast Air Quality Management District took samples during the first two months of the accident in order to test for pollutants. A December 3rd sample found levels of benzene to be three to five times in excess of samples taken in urban Los Angeles. Benzene is a cancer causing pollutant that has also shown signs of producing negative reproductive side effects in laboratory studies of animals.
There is ample documentation that environmental hazards harm the human population on levels equal to animals and vegetation. Chemicals introduced during wartime and through acts of corporate negligence are proof of how environmental disasters have historically had a hand in genetically altering human communities.
One of the major draws to Porter Ranch in better times was its noted clean air. Its coveted air quality was a result of massive wind gusts that affected the area year-round. Unfortunately, the swift movement of these valley winds have caused the toxic leak to consume the area at an even faster rate.
Widely regarded as an environmental disaster that equals or, perhaps, trumps the BP Oil spill of 2010, the events surrounding the Porter Ranch disaster are still developing. What we do know is that methane, a greenhouse gas, has the ability to trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere at a rate that’s 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide and can take 12 years to dissolve.