5C Students Take on the Governor Over Aliso Canyon Disaster

Photograph by Sunrise LA

On October 24th 2019, Climate activists from Sunrise Claremont participated in a direct action at The Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility to call on Governor Gavin Newsom to shut down the facility with an executive order.

Over four years ago, on October 23, 2015, a well at an underground natural gas storage in Aliso Canyon exploded and natural gas began to leak. The leak lasted over one hundred days and displaced over 8,300 homes according to a New York Times Article

Sunrise Claremont Recruitment lead Danny Hernandez PO ‘22 said, “Shutting down this facility is vital because it was the site of the largest methane leak in U.S history.” Aliso Canyon sits only 60 miles from the Claremont Colleges and remains open despite a lot of the risks posed to the surrounding area. Hernandez was one of three students from the 5Cs that attended a recent protest at the natural gas facility. 

According to founder of Sunrise Claremont Eric Warmouth CMC ‘22, protesters sat for hours blocking the entrance to the storage facility, during which ashes fell on them from a nearby fire. Activists from Sunrise Claremont, Sunrise LA, Save Porter Ranch, Food and Water Action, and Xtinction Rebellion joined together for the action and met with families who had lost pets, parents, and others to health problems caused by exposure methane. 

Sunrise Claremont Media Head, Breelyn Mangold SC ‘22, explained their resaon for targeting Governor Gavin Newsom with the issue. 

“He campaigned on this,” she said. “He [Governor Newsome] said Aliso Canyon was something he was going to address immediately. He kind of ran on environmentalism and wanted to be a trailblazer for the whole country as far as how to act as governor… the fact [is] that he’s not living up to that at all.” 

Warmoth added, “we see every week that Governor Gavin Newsome is doing something related to Trump… and he’s really eager to challenge Trump, but he’s prioritizing the news and big donors over people who elected him into office.”  

Governor Newsome’s office failed to respond the The Outback’s request for a comment. 

When asked what he would say to the governor if he had the chance, Hernandez said, “Don’t be a standard politician. Actually fulfill your campaign promises. People are tired of the typical Machiavellian careerist frauds. Listen to what your constituents demand, not just the monied lobbies. Be a public servant, not a private interests servant.”

Sunrise LA plans to continue the fight according to Sunrise LA Media Head, Natalie Rotstein. 

“The next step in the Aliso Canyon movement is going to be this coming Friday and Saturday (November 15th and 16th), when activists will be bird-dogging Newsom at the California Democratic Party State Convention to continue pressuring him to sign an executive order to shut down Aliso Canyon,” said Rotstein in an official statement.

To get involved in the cause, email Sunrise Claremont at sunriseclaremontcolleges@gmail.com and find their Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/Sunriseclaremontcolleges/ or @sunriseclaremontcolleges

Photographed by Sunrise LA

Jack Friedman ‘23 is from New York City and desperately misses bagels. The cream cheese, the everything seasoning… He also is often distracted by food and gets lost in his own thoughts. He is very undecided but planning on being a Political Science.

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