Louisiana is the latest state to block municipal natural gas bans, according to a recent article in Bloomberg Law. Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards last week signed legislation barring local governments in the state from banning natural gas utility services.
While no municipalities in Louisiana have proposed bans at this point, the legislation is a key step in ensuring reliable consumer access to affordable, domestically-produced natural gas. Several other states, including Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Arizona, approved similar measures earlier this year.
The wave of new legislation comes in response to a rise in municipal natural gas bans, originating in California and Washington State. Berkeley, CA last year became the first city to ban natural gas hookups in new buildings, as several other cities including Seattle, San Jose, Sacramento, and Los Angeles either considered or continue to consider similar policies.
But rather than recognizing the significant environmental and economic benefits of natural gas, proponents for natural gas bans advocate for such policies almost entirely out of an ideological opposition to the use of fossil fuels. However, natural gas has helped lower carbon emissions from the power sector, and provides one of the most affordable methods of heating homes, cooking, and drying clothes. But even some activists, like Rev. Jesse Jackson, have come around to the importance of natural gas: Jackson is supporting the construction of a new natural gas pipeline to serve an impoverished community outside of Chicago.
It is clear natural gas is a key part of the solution for a reliable yet sustainable energy future – not the problem.