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Briefs -- Southern California Gas Co. | Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

A "very slight and intermittent" methane leak was detected last Saturday by infrared monitoring at Southern California Gas Co.'s (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon underground natural gas storage facility in Los Angeles, the Sempra Energy gas-only utility said. The leak was at the wellhead of the storage well (SS 25), which was the source of a four-month leak before it was permanently sealed earlier this year. SoCalGas officials described this latest emission as a continuation of "off-gassing" from soil in the area. Saturday's release coincides with recent heavy rains throughout Southern California. "It is not believed to pose a present or potential hazard to human health, safety or the environment," a SoCalGas spokesperson said. The 3,600-acre storage field otherwise has been clear of anomalies or discernible odors, according to SoCalGas' fenceline infrared monitoring system and ongoing visual inspections.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has released a final environmental impact statement (EIS) analyzing possible environmental impacts of oil and natural gas development in the federal submerged lands of Cook Inlet, off Alaska's southcentral coast. The EIS was prepared in coordination with the Department of the Interior's 2012-2017 OCS Oil & Gas Leasing Program, which proposes one lease sale (Lease Sale 244) in Cook Inlet in June 2017. Like the draft EIS issued for Lease Sale 244 earlier this year, the final EIS includes an analysis of the environmental resources and uses (e.g., sea otter and beluga whale populations; subsistence activities; commercial fishing of pacific salmon and halibut; and more) that exist within the Cook Inlet planning area, and identifies mitigation measures that would be considered before leasing is allowed. The final Lease Sale 244 EIS was published in the Federal RegisterDec. 23, just days after President Barack Obama said he would withdraw vast areas in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans from future oil and natural gas drilling and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country would designate all Arctic Canadian waters as indefinitely off limits to future offshore Arctic oil and gas licensing subject to a five-year review. In a Cook Inlet lease sale held in May, there were no bids.

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