Methane is a pollutant that is worse than carbon dioxide in terms of greenhouse gas impact. Though it dissipates more quickly, after 100 years it is still thirty times more harmful. For weeks, the gas has spilling into the atmosphere from a storage facility at a rate that exceeds all of the automobile traffic in Los Angeles County. Just like the BP oil spill in Gulf of Mexico, it will take months to cap the leak. In the meantime, the pollution and health risks continue – though this time in near homes in the San Fernando Valley, not at sea. Life and local economy is threatened in both places but the reaction will be different for two main reasons: 1) the leak is invisible, which may make it easier to ignore because it’s harder to photograph, and 2) the leak is happened near people with the resources to demand action, which may make it more likely something happens. Whatever happens with this leak will affect similar storage facilities, just as with the BP oil spill.
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