Washington State Democrats move to ban natural gas in new residential and commercial buildings
By Ava Grace // Jan 25, 2024

The Democratic Party-dominated Washington State House of Representatives has passed a bill banning the connection of new natural gas lines to new residential or commercial buildings.

This comes after the state government's failed attempt to get natural gas consumers to turn down their thermostats to reduce the strain on the natural gas-dependent energy grid amid a frigid cold snap earlier this month.

By a vote of 52 in favor, 44 against and two abstaining, House Bill 1589, "An Act Relating to Supporting Washington's Clean Energy Economy and Transitioning to a Clean, Affordable and Reliable Energy Future," passed even with four Democrats voting against it and another two abstaining.

The bill would ban any gas company in the state that serves more than 500,000 customers from connecting new natural gas lines to new residential or commercial buildings with limited exemptions for certain manufacturing, medical care, correctional and military facilities. This provision was specifically crafted to target Puget Sound Energy (PSE), which serves natural gas to more than 900,000 customers in the Puget Sound area.

PSE would also no longer be required to provide natural gas service to existing customers, which state law currently mandates. (Related: Washington state Democrats propose ban on gas-powered lawn equipment to fight “climate change.”)

H.B. 1589 primary sponsor Rep. Beth Doglio (D-Olympia) said that the bill "has tools that help to protect ratepayers and increases transparency. Rather than looking at their gas system and their electric system separately, they'll be able to look at the system as an energy system."

Doglio added that she and other state Democrats will be continuing discussions with energy companies in the state about the future of natural gas use in Washington. State lawmakers are hoping to slash energy consumption in new construction by 70 percent by 2031, and by 2050 to achieve a state-wide target of economic carbon neutrality.

The measure now moves to the State Senate, also controlled by Democrats. But it should be noted that a similar bill banning new natural gas connections died in the state senate last session.

The latest attempt is part of an effort by Democratic lawmakers for "emission reduction periods" every five years until 2050 despite builders and developers opposing the plan.

Banning new natural gas could have detrimental effect on Washington homeowners

The Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) has voiced its opposition to the bill, warning of the potentially detrimental effect this has on homeowners.

"In voting for this bill, legislators are showing just how out of touch they are with the reality facing homeowners," said BIAW Executive Vice President Greg Lane. "Not even two weeks have passed since thousands of Washington families fought bitter cold winter weather causing PSE to ask them to curb their energy use to reduce strain on the grid."

"Removing natural gas as a source of heating homes and water will cause our electrical grid to fail," Lane said. “We will continue to fight efforts to threaten Washington’s energy security."

BIAW said that it will continue to work with legislators to encourage other policies that can reduce the state's negative effects on the environment but without causing undue harm to homeowners. BIAW has also been fighting efforts by the State Building Code Council to restrict natural gas and propane gas use in new residential and commercial construction.

Watch this clip from Fox Business featuring former Energy Secretary Rick Perry discussing how natural gas bans are ways for Democrats "to control your life."

This video is from the NewsClips channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

CONFIRMED: State and local governments are passing laws and ordinances that ban gas stoves.

New York becomes first U.S. state to ban gas stoves, heaters in all new buildings – energy grid to suffer as a result.

City of Eugene in Oregon bans natural gas hookups in new homes.

Gas industry forms coalition to stop Biden from shuttering everyone’s gas appliances.

NO ENERGY FOR YOU! SF Bay Area to phase out heating appliances powered by natural gas.

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