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Seattle weighs ban on natural gas in homes and buildings

Sep 5, 2019, 1:56 PM | Updated: 4:07 pm
Natural gas ban Seattle...
(Photo illustration by Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)
(Photo illustration by Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

Seattle City Council will soon weigh a complete ban on natural gas in newly-built homes and buildings.

Puget Sound Energy warns customers to limit gas and electricity

Legislation for the ban will be introduced by Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien. The measure would take effect on July 1, 2020 should it pass.

“The science is very clear — (Puget Sound Energy is) selling a fossil fuel that is destroying our planet, and my hope is that they recognize they need to get out of that business,” O’Brien said.

According to the bill, natural gas in buildings accounts for a fourth of Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions. Just over half of the city’s single-family homes used natural gas heating in 2018. Twenty-eight percent used oil and 16 percent used electricity.

This comes not long after San Francisco introduced it’s own legislation for a ban, and after Berkeley became the first U.S. city to actually pass one. San Francisco City Supervisor Vallie Brown estimates that natural gas in buildings generates 44 percent of the city’s emissions.

Study: Fossil fuels could cause clouds to disappear

Puget Sound Energy noted the need to consider a variety of factors before any such ban could take effect in Seattle.

Natural gas is what our customers use every day to heat their homes, to cook, and to do laundry. It’s an essential part of our energy mix– on the coldest days of the year, PSE’s natural gas system provides about 2/3 of the energy used by the city of Seattle.

Before deciding any new policy, there are several key questions to consider. How the decision would impact reliability, affordability and safety need to be well understood, as well as protecting customer energy choices. We look forward to working with policymakers on a thorough analysis.

The bill will first go before Seattle’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee for discussion on Friday.

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Seattle weighs ban on natural gas in homes and buildings