Cities And States Are Moving To Ban Natural Gas In New Buildings
There is no doubt that climate change is a reality with severe repercussions in the decades to come. To reduce greenhouse emissions, Governor Brown signed EO 20-04, directing state agencies to reduce and regulate greenhouse gases in Oregon by 45% below 1990 levels in 2035 and 80% reduction by 2050.
An important part of this reduction initiative is pushing new residential and commercial construction to be all-electric. However, change on this kind of scale is never easy.
Eugene Goes Electric
The City of Eugene initiated a process on November 17, 2021, that would lead to a ban on gas hookups for residential and commercial buildings. Multnomah County, where Portland is, passed a resolution on April 15 that prohibited new and remodeled buildings from using fossil fuels. These changes are in keeping with initiatives in dozens of cities across the country. These early changes for what is likely to be a domino effect that will occur in cities across the country. Eugene’s ban is tentatively scheduled for January 1, 2023.
“Building electrification will get us cleaner air, healthier homes and support good jobs in our community. Requiring electrification, combined with funding to help low-to-moderate income residents and our business community to fuel switch, will create an equitable and feasible plan to decarbonize our buildings,” said Councilmember Jennifer Yeh. “And when we combine that with these ongoing energy efficiency improvements, it’s easy to see how all these things line up to support our triple-bottom-line of environment, equity and economy.”
This push comes after two years of stalled negotiations with NW Natural over how to cut the greenhouse emissions to meet the reduction goals. While the city wants regulations to help meet new standards, the gas company was unwilling to agree to any binding requirements.
The natural gas advocates have a different view on this matter, summed up by Matt Clement, the regional director for Ambassador Fireplaces. “Eugene specifically has a tiered system with EWEB, so the more kilowatt you use, the more kilowatt you pay. So that won’t make electricity cheaper; that will make electricity more expensive.”
While many decisions and deadlines are still pending, the natural gas versus electricity debate is in full swing here in Oregon and across the country.
We have dual perspectives when working with government agencies because we have counseled both private and public entities for land use issues. To speak with us about permit requirements, applications and appeals, or other topics such as natural gas in new buildings, please schedule a consultation with us at or through email.