Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein (both D-CA) today praised the inclusion of their amendment addressing the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak in the bipartisan energy bill, which is currently being considered on the Senate floor. The measure was approved by a voice vote last night.

"I am very pleased that the Senate realizes what a crisis my constituents are facing in Southern California, and that there must be national attention paid to finding a solution," Senator Boxer said. 

Senator Feinstein said, "This amendment directs the administration to bring together experts throughout the federal government to get the answers we need to ensure nothing like the Aliso Canyon leak happens again. Senate approval of the amendment is a welcome step."

The amendment would direct Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to lead a broad federal review of the cause and the response to the natural gas leak at Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility, including making recommendations on immediate steps that could assist in solving this gas leak and in preventing and responding to future incidents.

The task force would issue findings within six months, with interim reports as necessary to respond to the leak. In addition to the Energy Department, the task force would include representatives from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Commerce and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The amendment also includes language directing the task force to review and issue recommendations on whether to continue operations at Aliso Canyon and other facilities in close proximity to residential populations based on an assessment of the risk of a future natural gas leak.

Senators Boxer and Feinstein announced the introduction of the amendment last week. Senator Boxer spoke on the Senate floor yesterday about the amendment. Video of the speech can be found here.