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Seattle natural gas ban would ‘detrimentally affect’ those who can least afford it

Feb 23, 2022, 1:29 PM
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A natural gas explosion destroyed businesses on Greenwood Avenue during the early morning hours on March 9, 2015, in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Matt Mills McKnight/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Mills McKnight/Getty Images)

If a ban on the use of natural gas were to expand from Seattle to commercial and residential areas statewide, there may be issues with affordability.

Spike O’Neil with the Affordable Energy Coalition told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that an outright natural gas ban would raise energy costs for folks who can least afford to bear the burden.

The Affordable Energy Coalition is a nonprofit based in Seattle, O’Neil explained.

“We’re just trying to make sure that the energy costs, rising as they are, given the international market for fuel — the people who are affected the most are heard, that’s our main goal. Make sure that energy stays affordable, like the name says,” he said.

“This gas ban proposal in Seattle started, of course, as a feel-good way to have folks do something for the environment. And don’t get me wrong, we’re all for concerns about the environment,” he continued.

“But what we found is that when we had the Oxford Economics group do an impact study on the natural gas ban in commercial and multi-family residential, that’s apartment buildings over four stories, what this is going to do is raise the energy costs for those folks who are in Seattle, and it’s going to detrimentally affect folks that can least afford to bear this burden — so low- to middle-income communities, and communities of color, BIPOC communities in Seattle.”

Natural gas accounts for about a third of energy use in the city of Seattle. The ban on natural gas as it stands now is only in the city, and only for commercial and multi-family residential buildings.

O’Neil says for the state to meet its green energy goals by 2030 and 2050, it would take an “entire ban of natural gas in all buildings, all residences, single-family, commercial, new, old, retrofit, everything.”

“Again, we’re all for the environment and making moves toward sustainability and the environmental issues, but to do that, you have to eliminate natural gas. And it’s affordable, and without it, energy costs are going to go sky high — and they’re already high,” O’Neil said.

The Washington State Energy Code is hosting a public hearing Feb. 25. Find more information and sign up to provide testimony, or submit written testimony, online here through the Seattle Building Code Council’s website.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Seattle natural gas ban would ‘detrimentally affect’ those who can least afford it