Beyond Nuclear is bringing more attention to the uncontrolled release of cancer-causing radon gas that could be escaping from SoCal Gas company’s Porter Ranch gas leak in suburban Los Angeles, California. Much attention is focused on the industrial-scale gas accident that is emitting thousands of tons of climate changing methane each day along with other hazardous chemicals including toluene, benzene, sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide into the atmosphere. Thousands of residents have relocated with many sickened from inhaling the continuous emission. But radon in the mix represents an invisible killer. The EPA recognizes odorless, colorless, radioactive radon as the number one cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking.
A “state of emergency” was declared by Governor Jerry Brown on January 6, 2016 long after the discovery of the accident in late October 2015. As the releases continue, dozens of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of Porter Ranch residents as SoCal Gas has also come under investigation by the California state air quality department for failure to maintain injection wells in one of the nation’s largest underground gas storage caverns created by decades of oil extraction. The harmful impacts of dirty and dangerous extracted energy on climate, health and the environment are mounting and underscore the urgent need to supplant coal, oil, nuclear and gas with the sun, wind and other renewable sources.
In the meantime, Beyond Nuclear urges that more federal and state attention be paid to real time monitoring, measuring and mitigating the radioactive gas emissions from industrial fracking at every stage of operation. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is set to finally begin radon monitoring at the leak site by January 29, 2016. Alarming rates of harmful radon emissions are being linked to industrial hydraulic fracking to extract natural gas in states like Pennsylvania.