How the huge gas leak is turning California’s Porter Ranch into a ghost town
This story was originally published by Newsweek and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
In the winter of 2008, a real estate column in the Los Angeles Times profiled Porter Ranch, a collection of subdivisions in the San Fernando Valley that feels utterly removed from the huge city on whose northern edge it lies. The neighborhood is “graced with lush parks,” the Neighborly Advice column gushed, and “attracts residents seeking sanctuary from the urban hubbub.” Toll Brothers, the upscale builder that has developed much of the land here, promises potential residents they will “relax in open, natural spaces and live within a true community.”
Until very recently, you would have had to do a considerable amount of internet sleuthing to discover that Porter Ranch, home to 30,000 people, is not exactly the pristine, quasi-rural paradise promised by its developers and boosters. The hills that frame its Instagram-ready backdrop also cradle the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility, a parcel of 3,600 acres in which the Southern California Gas Company has turned 115 defunct oil wells into an underground warehouse that can hold 80 billion cubic feet of natural g... Read more