Who Regulates the Southern California Gas Company?

When the 2015-16 blowout occurred at SoCalGas’ Aliso Canyon facility, many in the community wanted to understand who regulates the company’s activities and operations. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is one of many agencies that assisted in the response to the Aliso Canyon Disaster. On an ongoing basis, more than 20 local, state and federal agencies play a role in overseeing and regulating operations of SoCalGas’ Aliso Canyon facility:

US EPA Seal

US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)

Sets standards on air and drinking water quality. Also requires reporting of greenhouse gas emissions; requires capture of all gases & fluids; authorizes states to regulate injection wells to achieve water quality standards.


US FERC Seal

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

Regulates interstate transmission of energy, gas and oil. Aliso Canyon is a "non-jurisdictional facility" however, FERC followed events after the leak to ensure reliability of energy in Southern California.


US DOT Seal

US Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

Ensures the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation’s gas and hazardous liquid pipeline transportation system. Established minimum safety standards for depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs, aquifer reservoirs, and solution-mined salt caverns used for the storage of gas.


US Department of the Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service Seal

US Department of the Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Responsible for the conservation, protection, and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats.


US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration Seal

US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Ensures safe and healthful working conditions by setting and enforcing standards.

California Public Utilities Commission Seal

California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)

Regulates gas rates and services of privately-held utilities that serve California customers (e.g., SoCal Gas). Includes in-state transportation of gas over transmission and distribution pipeline systems, gas storage, procurement, metering and billing.


California Department of Conservation, Geologic Energy Management Division Seal

California Department of Conservation, Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM)

Regulates the drilling, operation, and eventual permanent closure of oil, gas, and geothermal wells. Also regulates underground gas storage, ensuring that storage operations are conducted safely.


California Energy Commission Seal

California Energy Commission (CEC)

Oversees the state's energy infrastructure, prepares for energy emergencies, administers the state's Renewables Portfolio Standard, requires energy suppliers to report data and information including receipt and sale of gas. Sets minimum levels for energy efficiency to ensure the state's supply of energy. Issued a letter in July 2017 urging permanent closure of the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility.


California Air Resources Board Seal

California Air Resources Board (CARB)

Oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health-based air quality standards.


California State Water Resources Control Board Seal

California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)

Assess potential impacts to groundwater associated with well stimulation and oilfield produced water, including underground injection control and produced water ponds. Authority only applies if groundwater is impacted. (Water Board has issued orders in the past for Aliso Canyon.)


California Office of the State Fire Marshal Seal

California Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM)

Oversees safety testing and public reporting of pipelines transporting hazardous substances within the road right-of-way.


California Department of Toxic Substances Control Seal

California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)

Protects people and environment from harmful effects of toxic substance by restoring contaminated resources, enforcing hazardous waste laws, reducing hazardous waste generation, and encouraging the manufacture of chemically safer products. Authority only applies if hazardous waste disposal is involved.


California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Seal

California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES)

Responds to emergency incidents declared by state authorities; serves as the central point in state government for the emergency reporting of spills, unauthorized releases, or other accidental releases of hazardous materials. Coordinates the notification of the appropriate state and local administering agencies.


California Department of Fish and Wildlife Seal

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)

Negotiates and maintains agreements with operators delineating roles and responsibilities if oil and gas projects affect streams, creeks, rivers, or other sensitive habitats near bodies of water within the state.


California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health Seal

California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA)

Protects and improves the safety of California workers by setting and enforcing standards.

South Coast Air Quality Monitoring District Seal

South Coast Air Quality Monitoring District ("South Coast AQMD")

Identifies, controls, and prevents unwanted health effects associated with toxic agents. Regulates noise and vibration; investigates health concerns in response to community reports.


Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board Seal

Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board

Regulates oil and gas discharge ponds. Conducts groundwater monitoring in areas of oil and gas well stimulation; reviews injection well applications.

LA County Department of Regional Planning Seal

LA County Department of Regional Planning

Regulates land use on private property within unincorporated LA County. Sets development standards for buildings and structures, as well as performance standards for various uses, including oil wells and the storage of oil; issues conditional use permits.


LA County Fire Department Seal

LA County Fire Department, Fire Prevention Division (FPD)

Regulates oil and gas facilities such as oil wells, tank farms, and petroleum refineries. FPD approves new construction, conducts inspections, and issues permits for oil wells, tank farms, pipelines, and other aboveground oil and gas facilities.


LA County Fire Department, Health Hazardous Materials Division Seal

LA County Fire Department, Health Hazardous Materials Division (HHMD)

HHMD oversees the annual disclosure and triennial compliance inspection requirements for hazardous materials handlers, hazardous waste generators, aboveground petroleum storage tank facilities, underground storage tank facilities, and risk management plans at oil and gas facilities.


LA County Department of Public Works Seal

LA County Department of Public Works

Grants franchises to oil and gas companies for the right to lay pipelines along county rights-of-way to transport oil and gas produced within the unincorporated County and Flood Control District; verifies compliance with franchise terms and conditions.


LA County Sanitation District Seal

LA County Sanitation District

Regulates industrial wastewater discharge.


LA County Department of Public Health Seal

LA County Department of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health, Toxicology & Environmental Assessment Branch

Identifies, controls, and prevents unwanted health effects associated with toxic agents. Regulates noise and vibration; investigates health concerns in response to community reports.


LA County Office of Emergency Management Seal

LA County Office of Emergency Management

Responsible for planning for, responding to, and recovering from large scale emergencies and disasters that affect Los Angeles County.