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California pushes ban on natural gas

California pushes ban on natural gas California pushes ban on natural gas

CPSA: Bills prohibit gas swimming pool heaters despite no reasonable alternative

California Senator Dave Cortese (D-San Jose) is tackling the climate change issue with a package of bills focused on decarbonization.

These new introductions present yet another challenge for CPSA/PHTA and other organizations pushing back against state and local bans on natural gas.

Introduced December 2020, the package includes three decarbonization bills: SB 30, SB 31 and SB 32.

SB 30, the State Buildings and Assets Decarbonization Act of 2021, would, beginning January 1, 2022, prohibit a state agency from designing or constructing a state facility that is connected to the natural gas grid and effectively require all state buildings to be carbon-neutral by January 1, 2035. This bill also prohibits state investment into residential and non-residential buildings connected to the natural gas grid, unless it would result in the loss of federal funding.

SB 31, the California Building Decarbonization Act of 2021, would require the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to identify and implement programs for building decarbonization, and authorizes the commission to expend any federal funds for clean energy or energy efficiency to address Covid-related economic recovery and development on building decarbonization projects. It would also require the commission to award funds under the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program for commercial and residential projects with building decarbonization technologies and investments that reduce greenhouse gas generation.

SB 32, concerning building decarbonization requirements for local governments, would require a city or county to amend its general plan by January 1, 2023, to include specifications and implementation strategies for decarbonization of newly constructed commercial and residential buildings.

In addition to Cortese’s decarbonization bill package, Assembly member Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introducedAB 33 to prohibit the approval or appropriation of funding for the construction of new school buildings and new public buildings that have natural gas connections.

This bill would prohibit the commission from authorizing a gas corporation to provide service extension allowances or line installation allowances to its customers.

According to the CPSA, by including all state buildings, including schools, these bills would prohibit natural gas for use to heat swimming pools associated with such facilities, despite the fact that there is no commercial alternative to gas pool heaters that would not be substantially more expensive, take up more real estate, and require the use of more energy.

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