California senators want federal task force on gas leak

California’s Senate delegation is proposing a federal task force to study the ongoing massive natural gas leak near Los Angeles.

Sens. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerDems leery of Planned Parenthood cuts spark Senate scuffle Calif. Dem missed votes, sit-in on trip to Spain Hispanic Caucus PAC looks to flex its muscles in 2016 MORE and Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinUS reveals death toll from terror strikes outside war zones House to vote on NRA-backed gun measure Homeland Security Committee pushes encryption commission in new report MORE, both Democrats, unveiled the measure Friday as a proposed amendment to the broad energy bill the Senate is debating.

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It would direct Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to convene six officials from federal agencies to determine the causes and response to the ongoing leak in Porter Ranch, Calif., which has become the state’s largest greenhouse gas emission source.

“It has been very frustrating to watch this Aliso Canyon crisis‎ unfold — almost in slow motion — without any clear remedy,” Boxer said in a statement. “It is time to put our brightest minds to work to analyze and make recommendations that would not only assist in Aliso Canyon, but would also help us prevent and respond to similar incidents across the country.”

“We have a responsibility not only to address this leak, but also to ensure nothing like this ever happens again,” said Feinstein.

The leak started in October at a gas storage well. It’s so far released 84 million kilograms of gas, and the methane in it has the global warming equivalent of 440,000 cars’ annual emissions.

Southern California Gas Co., the well’s owner, has been unable to stop the leak thus far. Nearby residents have been evacuated due to the risks and the noxious fumes.