More regulatory gas from SLO City Council

September 1, 2019

OPINION by MIKE BROWN

The City of San Luis Obispo staff and City Council are about to launch yet another regulatory overreach. This time an ordinance is proposed requiring that all new homes be built to accommodate all electric heating and appliances. Even if the homeowner or builder prefers gas and includes gas, the home would have to be designed and built as if it were all electric.

The city states that gas is not banned, however, all new homes must be “prewired and retrofit ready.” The draft ordinance, which we reviewed, also requires that new commercial and industrial buildings will be subject to the restrictions.

From a public policy standpoint, there is no legitimate reason to impose this new regulation. Moreover and with less than one week remaining prior to the council meeting on Sept. 3, there is not enough time for the public to study and react. The final council agenda item had not yet been published as of Tuesday morning Aug. 27. The issue should at least be postponed to provide the general public time to consider the first phase of the ban.

In 2016, the city updated its 2005 Greenhouse Gas Inventory prefatory to updating its 2012 Climate Action Plan, which is currently being prepared. The table below displays the current sources:

Note that residential gas produces 28,930 metric tonnes per year of CO2 (MTCO2e) and related greenhouse gases out of 340,000. Staff indicated that the ultimate goal of the gas ban is to reduce the 28,930 (MTCO2e) by 7,800 (MTCO2e). To reach the goal will take years, as the new homes which will be subject to the ordinance will be built gradually depending on the market absorption rate, the economy, and costs. In the beginning this could be a few hundred (MTCO2e) and growing to a few thousand over the years.

Meanwhile and per the table above, most of the CO2 is generated by cars and trucks, and much of that in SLO is on state highways, over which the city has no control. Thus the limited reduction claimed for this program has no real benefit of scale, yet is highly intrusive and ultimately costly to homeowners.


San Luis Obispo’s total 340,000 MMTCO2e is only .001 percent of the State 424.1 million total. If San Luis Obispo City eliminated all of its CO2 totally, it would have no meaningful impact. In turn, the amount of natural gas to be reduced (7,800 MMTCO2) is only .00002 percent.

Why would the city subject its homeowners, builders, and everyone else to the costly, intrusive, and wasteful ordinance? It cannot be justified as public policy on the numbers.

It is simply symbolic virtue signaling of the worst kind. Why doesn’t the SLO City Council take into consideration the fact that the Diablo Power Plant forestalls the production of 8 million metric tonnes of CO2 every year? This will largely be replaced by natural gas to provide the base loads at night. Remember, most of the Monterey Bay Power Authority electricity is not flowing from British Columbia hydro or some other CO2 free source, but is simply a trading scheme of clean energy certificates. The actual local electrons will come from PG&E and other gas sources, especially after the Diablo Plant closes.

Furthermore, what did the SLO City Council ever do to help keep Diablo open?

Mike Brown is the Government Affairs Director of the Coalition of Labor Agriculture and Business (COLAB) of San Luis Obispo County.


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c.d.cox

While they are at it why not outlawing the eating beans,broccolli or any other gas causing food after all it is methane gas.


Snoid

If San Luis Obispo City eliminated all of its CO2 totally, it would have no meaningful impact. Well……SLO has no meaningful impact on humanity so its a perfect match.


citizensoldier

Here is a place to obtain more information about climate change:

https://youtu.be/nv33eaygVDQ


Perhaps two or more thoughtful and concerned citizens could combine their time during public comment, in order to overcome the “3 minute” time limit used by city, county, state and California Coastal Commission during public “hearings.”


Don’t miss “Can Climate Models Predict Climate Change” “…Even with massive amounts of real time data the models could not accurately predict Irma’s path 2 days in advance”


Your elected public servants need a remedial course in common sense thinking. If you don’t tell them, who will?


oxforduniversity

This is communism, left wing socialist, the city council has lost it.


Humperdinck

Since this Reach Ordinance affects the environment, why is the city exempt from an Environmental Impact Report?

You can’t say that just because they are reducing gas locally, there is no EIR effects if the gas burning is displaced to another county with a natural gas electric generator. You can bet if SoCalGas initiated on their side to not serve gas to new Subdivisions, the City would have a cow and want to know what the collateral effects are going to be. You have to know that if SoCalGas has no reason to upgrade gas lines to get depreciation and return on capital in their rate base (because the CPUC will be watching this experiment); then all SoCalGas can do is repair work that hits them in their Expense Budget, which affects compensation and routine maintenance.


It appears the City wants to “Spit-ball” some CO2 reduction numbers, but they have no provisions to actually measure the amount saved without cooperation and data from SoCalGas meters. So, it’s all wishful thinking based upon flawed logic that hasn”t considered the ancillary effects that would be present in a Feasibility Study.

In regards to “Sustainability”, which would be a full chapter in the absent Feasibility Study; is there a yearly audit provision in the proposed Reach Ordinance to see if it is working? If it becomes an obvious failure after two years is there a graceful “back-out plan” or are City of SLO officials just “running with scissors” on this one too?

The 4 houses that I’ve owned over the years in the city of SLO didn’t have air conditioning. Once you have a heat pump that doubles as an air conditioner, then some SLO folks could start using the heat pump AC and use more electrical energy in that 3pm-8pm Time of Use electric penalty rate tiers 3 & 4.

If electricity prices go through the roof or the Monterey Bay Community Power goes bankrupt I can see the class action lawyers for the customers sue the inept city/board members individually that had obvious conflict of interests of steering higher electric usage to MBCP?


Humperdinck

What’s ironic is that Heidi Harmon sits on the SLO Air Polution Control Board and the APCB isn’t publicly supporting her push away from natural gas. If anything the SLO APCB is still craftily using Assembly Bill and Senate Bill grants to transition buses, garbage trucks and farm equipment off diesel and onto clean burning natural gas. The APCB is only in the study phase on electric buses and the needed charging stations. What Heidi did hear from those APCB meetings is that CalFire is planning to step-up the amount of Prescriptive Burns, which includes the yearly Camp Roberts burn overlapping both counties. The APCB meeting videos for May 22 and June 19th can be watched at https://www.slocleanair.org/who/board/meeting-minutes.php

It must be a hard pill to swallow knowing she’s out there on a limb without APCB public support and CalFire is about to thwart any carbon savings she thought the Reach Code might attain on her personal quest for Progressive Glory.


AmericaTheFree

Mr. Brown,

What you’re actually saying is that California should ignore the science (the overriding factual science that even our DOD acknowledges* ) and do nothing, right? We shouldn’t even try? Maybe start something that none with one wit of common sense could deny would help, no matter how little? Jeeeeez! You know, if this planet hadn’t been around for 4.5 billion years or so I’d say it would have something to worry about, but it doesn’t. The human race, and most of the other living, breathing species do though, and you and those that think from behind their wallets don’t give a rats ass about that!

What I don’t appreciate though? Is you, and the science deniers, sentencing my child to a planet that is less beautiful and healthy then when you got it!


https://media.defense.gov › Jan › CLIMATE-CHANGE-REPORT-2019


Humperdinck

No lack of emotion or drama in the “…sentencing my child to…”

If you want Mr Brown to tithe to your California Church of Climate Change you might want to be more cordial and have an expert get in touch with him to solicit his monthly electricity donation. Though I believe the climate will always change, I know my God doesn’t require me to tithe to someone else’s religious beliefs or give into shaming by someone that must defer their argument to be completed by experts. Maybe Mr. Brown is just saying that California is spitting into the wind without the rest of the world complying and this is an exercise in futility. One good size wildfire offsets years of any progressive agenda. And yes, the rest of the world is seeing a bunch of rats asses around the CA homeless problem, as well as, failing recycling/redemption program, high speed rail (must I go on with a list?) that the same climate agenda politicians can’t fix.


LameCommenter

Brown, your common sense calculations and defense of sensible marketplace construction codes have NO PLACE in the liberal la-la-land of SLO County, and also no place in the minds of some of SLO’s wild-eyed councils and Boards.


Please continue your work. And remember, codification/pre-wire is the first step to elimination of NG appliances and efficiencies as a public choice for heating and food preparation, distributed home and office back-up/night generation, and so forth.


deepsea

All based on dubious (at best) science. The leftists have to keep us in a constant crisis so the sheeple will become more dependent on the government.


Mitch C

If this is your desire to be total Green that should be your choice but you should not force your beliefs/interests on anyone else. I believe you should be able to live as you please within the limits of the law. I am sure that the Green folks would be upset if ordinances were passed requiring a maximum amount of carbon needs to be released.


I do not believe in this nonsense. The science behind human contributions to climate change is not there … there is no concrete proof that humans are causing the planet to change. Planet change has been going on since the beginning of time. Once vast glaciers covered much of the Midwest.


Just because some “scientists” believe we humans are causing the end of our planet, those scientists could be wrong just as the “scientists” who proclaimed that the earth is the center of the universe and those that believed in Y2K would destroy all computers were wrong. Finally, if every American were to follow strict Green standards without the rest of the world joining in (which they won’t) we are on a fools journey.


mercut1469
Mitch C

The vast majority of scientists said the world is flat, that the earth is the center of the universe and Thad Y2K would end computers as we know them. Our planet has been changing for the past 4billon years and it will continue to change regardless of what we, an insignificant species, try to do about it. Of course the climate is changing; however, it has nothing to do with the human population.


mercut1469

Interesting. This is the same argument that celebrated author Michael Crichton used in front of a senate panel on the environment in 2005. He went on and on about how scientists have gotten things wrong—from flat earth theories to Y2K. Of course, Crichton also believes in paranormal activities and spoon bending. The problem with Crichton’s arguments are that they are simply not true.


Most educated people believed from the time of Aristotle that the earth was round. And the idea that Columbus set out to prove the flat earthers were wrong is just a myth.The idea that the earth was the center of the universe was put to rest around the time that SCIENTISTS were able to quantify the “scientific method” during the enlightenment. Of course, the wide spread use of telescopes—by scientists—also helped.


https://www.history.com/news/christopher-columbus-never-set-out-to-prove-the-earth-was-round


As for Y2K, I dare you to name one reputable scientist who said anything about it. Another myth perpetrated by our wildly unreliable media—CCN excluded.


Listen, I know I’m not going to change your mind. You’ll die, just as I will, without ever seeing the future effects of climate change. All we have is science, and since science has been awfully reliable in making our lives better—think of the medications that keep many of us alive—I choose to believe the scientists on this one. And if tiny little SLO can do at least one thing to mitigate climate change, I’m all for it.


laftch

The science is settled. Resistance is futile. Thus saith the lord Locutus.


deepsea

Science. That’s a laughable term. Science is based on facts, not theory. Much of what is purported to be science these days is the science of getting grants from groups that have a money driven agenda.