Bloomberg Law recently published an op-ed by GAIN strategic advisor and former Maryland Congressman Albert Wynn on municipal natural gas bans and the resulting economic strain. Wynn outlines the many merits of natural gas and encourages policymakers to follow the lead of states that have passed laws barring local governments from prohibiting new natural gas hookups. Wynn writes:
“According to the American Gas Association, households that use natural gas for heating, cooking, and clothes drying save an average of $874 per year compared to homes using electricity for those applications. Further, natural gas furnaces offer the greatest energy savings for customers, as oil furnaces, electric heat pumps, and electric resistance furnaces cost two to four times as much as the most efficient gas furnaces.”
Wynn goes on to note that Louisiana recently became the largest state to block municipal natural gas bans, joining Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Arizona; all approved similar measures earlier this year. Thankfully these states have reaped the rewards of natural gas, as Wynn continues:
“Despite these obvious economic benefits, several municipalities have either considered, introduced, or even implemented bans on new natural gas hookups in new buildings. Berkeley, Calif., last year became the first city to enact such a ban as part of a statewide push to lower carbon emissions and bolster renewables. Seattle, San Jose, Sacramento, and Los Angeles are considering similar bans.”
The city officials supporting these municipal bans might believe they are acting in the best interests of their constituents, but the reality is the opposite. They are depriving those constituents of a more affordable and environmentally friendly energy resource. Families are struggling in these tough economic times and the last thing they need is a higher energy bill.”
Hopefully city officials see the irreplaceable value of maintaining and continuing to allow natural gas hookups in their areas. For our nation want to maintain a bright energy future, we must allow natural gas to do its part in continuing to lower carbon emissions and provide affordable, reliable energy for Americans. Wynn’s full piece can be read here.