By Devin Henry - 12/24/15 12:35 PM EST
Environmentalists have published new footage of a major natural gas leak pumping methane into the atmosphere in Southern California.
The footage, released Wednesday by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), uses an infrared camera to show the “massive scale of pollution flowing from the ruptured underground gas well” near Los Angeles, EDF said in a blog post.
The cause of the leak is unknown, and California officials told The Washington Post this week that they don’t know when it will be sealed.
Methane is the primary component of natural gas, and its impact on climate change is potent — up to 25 times that of carbon dioxide. The leak has led to the evacuation of about 1,500 homes, The Post reported, and EDF said thousands of others have considered relocation.
The leak has promoted greens to call for strict environmental rules at oil and gas facilities and the closure of the storage facilities in Aliso Canyon.
“Events of this size are rare, but major leakage across the oil and gas supply chain is not,” Tim O’Connor, the director of EDF’s California Oil and Gas Program, said in a statement.
“Regardless of what the future holds for the Aliso Canyon storage field, this is one reason why strong rules are needed to require that oil and gas companies closely monitor for and manage methane leaks.”
SoCalGas told California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) last week that it would “execute all possible efforts” to plug the leak, The Post reported, including drilling a relief well and injecting a solution to try sealing the breach.
“SoCalGas recognized the impact this incident is having on the environment,” company President Dennis Arriola wrote in a letter to Brown.