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OilMonster
Natural Gas May 11, 2022 03:05:50 AM

Senator ‘Very Frustrated’ over How Natural Gas Ban Came About

Anil
Mathews
OilMonster Author
Doglio testified in favor of the changes. She said eliminating natural gas from new buildings would make for safer properties and cleaner air.
Senator ‘Very Frustrated’ over How Natural Gas Ban Came About

SEATTLE (Oil Monster): A bill to ban natural gas appliances in all new commercial construction sites died in the Legislature in 2021. 

But this spring, the Washington State Building Code Council passed a similar ban on all new commercial construction projects, and some residential ones, starting in July 2023.

“It’s a fossil fuel and it emits greenhouse gas emissions,” said Beth Doglio, a former state legislator and consultant for the Rocky Mountain Institute. 

Doglio testified in favor of the changes. She said eliminating natural gas from new buildings would make for safer properties and cleaner air. 

Instead of gas-powered furnaces and water heaters, builders would have to rely on electric heat pumps under the changes.

The ban includes all new commercial properties and residential projects with four stories or more, similar to a Seattle ban passed in 2021.

Sen. Lynda Wilson, a Republican and non-voting member on the council, said the decision should have been up to legislators, not council members appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat. 

”I’m very frustrated with the fact that it was the Building Code Council that decided this,” said Wilson, R-Vancouver. “They are unelected and unaccountable to the public.” 

Wilson questions how much of an impact the change will have on the environment, and said she is concerned about the impact on construction costs and home prices at a time when the state needs to build more homes. 

Doglio said costs could end up being reduced by the change, as more people are looking for natural gas alternatives. 

“We’re seeing gas companies asking right now for rate increases,” said Doglio. “The electric sector is staying more stable and I think we’ll see that over time as our market transforms.” 

The council is expected to debate expanding the ban to cover most residential properties later this year. 

                                      

 Courtesy: www.king5.com

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