San Luis Obispo City Council votes to phase out natural gas

September 4, 2019

Mayor Heidi Harmon


The San Luis Obispo City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday night in favor of an ordinance and energy policy that would ban the fitting of new residential and commercial buildings with natural gas-powered appliances.

On Jan, 1, 2020, the ordinance, which will require new construction to have only electric power, will go into effect. The city has provided developers two alternatives, they can transition an existing gas powered building into electric only or pay in-lieu fees.

Councilwoman Erica Stewart cast the lone dissenting vote against the ordinance, saying the city should be using a carrot, rather than stick, approach in order to encourage the switch to electric-powered appliances. Stewart also argued for a city discount incentive for developers opting to build developments that use electrical appliances.

Mayor Heidi Harmon, who has spearheaded the effort to end the use of natural gas appliances, said the city needed to “act” immediately. Meanwhile, Harmon blamed the fossil fuel industry for exacerbating the “climate crisis.”

“We have very, very little time to make this transition,” Harmon said. “We just have to know that the reason we’re in such a bad position is because the fossil fuel industry has been intentionally misleading us for decades with a multimillion dollar climate denial extravaganza that has unfortunately been quite effective.”

Tuesday’s meeting drew numerous speakers for and against the city’s attempt to phase out the use of natural gas. Critics say phasing out gas appliances will eliminate jobs and increase the cost of housing in SLO, which is already becoming increasingly unaffordable to local families and workers.

“There is no bigger threat to housing affordability than climate crisis and extreme weather,” Harmon said in response to critics. “It is the major, major affordable housing crisis multiplier, especially here in the state of California as we have seen with recent fires, mudslides and et cetera.”

In the lead-up to Tuesday’s meeting, Harmon was promoting the city energy policy changes in a video that features a Los Angeles Times article on pollution associated with gas appliances. Harmon did not explain in the video that the article referred to improperly vented gas appliances, as opposed to all gas stove usage.

The ordinance and energy policy will return to the council at an upcoming meeting, after city staffers make clarifications to the proposed rules.


“Could a public safety power outage affect you?

Yes. The grid connects us all. If you live anywhere in PG&E’s service territory your electricity could be shut off for longer than 48 hours as part of a Public Safety Power Shutoff.”

Every elected or paid public servant ought to be made to read lights out. It amazes me how distracted the citizenry is from their own well-being. If you don’t have time to read the book which you really should do at least read the excerpts.

Forewarned is forearmed.


This comment is a bit late but doesn’t that mean they have to buy all new buses?


The planet is fine, it’s humans that are going to go bye-bye.


There is no basis for this ordinance other than the nitwit propaganda these four idiots are spewing Get rid of them NOW!!!!!


Voting Public’s understanding of “Public Service”:

We want to put people in office who will represent us and make our lives better.

Elected Public Servant’s understanding of “Public Service”:

We are empowered to re-shape public life the way we think it should be

Politics is supposed to be about “giving back” and stepping up to represent people. But it hasn’t been that way for a very, very long time. Now, politics is nothing more than a career in which sociopaths and busybodies can do well.

BTW….no one is going to step up. No mass demonstrations will be held, no pitchforks will be carried and not a damn thing other than a few whimpers will come from the “public.”

We’re a conquered, neutered, supine people now. If you’re not OK with that, the only option is to move.

“Voting” is nothing more than a form of consent. The agenda isn’t changed or influenced by voters. Case in point: no one wants to ban gas appliances except a literal handful of sociopaths.



I agree with your assessment, totally.

To your point: :”We’re a conquered, neutered, supine people now. If you’re not OK with that, the only option is to move.”

I will caution, “Just don’t bring the thinking that led to the vote you cast in SLO, to where you go, along with you.” Appreciate those who are maintaining the place you are going to choose live.

Jorge Estrada

This is one more reason for the SLO Mayor to not only live in SLO but actually own a home in SLO. A homeless Mayor will only help others to follow in her footsteps. No disrespect to renters and one can argue that they pay taxes through their rents, just maybe. Actually renters enable owners to pay less taxes than the owner occupied properties. This fact stands and the argument may only be the exception. That said, SLO should also be trolling the creek bands too for more good ideas.


Oh good Lord! “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” is coming to life. And they all become elected officials somehow. How are we letting this happen? Help me out here, I don’t understand. Let’s take another choice away from the home builder/buyer and drive the cost up of “affordable housing”. My kids would love to live here too.


This was the “straw” that broke the camel’s back (pun intended)…. credible candidates emerging now, even recall discussions …solid ones. This “Anholming” of the entire city ( pushing an agenda affecting everyone at home, in their pocketbooks), ignoring a majority, putting folks out of business, pushing false narratives finally did it. the giant has awakened.


Recall is a great idea.

All of them.


Gee, I thought San Luis Obispo was supposed to be a Welcome City but the mayor is showing her unwelcoming towards businesses that work, employ and sell natural gas. She is being educated by Bernie Sanders & AOC that the mayor says that the earth will end in 12 years if we don’t act now.

Since she won her natural gas plan last Tuesday night, she is now considering a ban on the cities propane buses to all electric buses, she wants to ban all gas lawn movers, ban home backup generators, ban plastic trash bags, ban propane grillers and etc.

The primary radical justification by the mayor and this progressive council is all the hype they believe on the Green New Deal by putting together a bogus plan that they say is necessary to slow the rise of human-caused climate change; which the mayor believes in congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s vision and other congressional liberals say will cause significant damage to the economy and human health over the next century.

Yet the mayor fails to admit that there have been many live recorded PhD environmental scientists who have spoken in Congress this year in congressional committee hearings with testimony there is no good evidence global warming will be catastrophic or that there’s anything humans can do to stop it. But even if the mayor and her council assumes that global warming must be slowed down with this ban on natural gas, the mayor trying this progressive model by following the Green New Deal by putting it into San Luis Obispo because she truly believes the sky is falling, would do nothing to achieve her goal but outrage residents instead because the evidence isn’t there. Remember, she was elected by mostly temporary residential students from Cal Poly or she wouldn’t have won her election, period. She also fails to admit that Cal Poly uses a lot of natural gas, a lot of it but she fails to admit Cal Poly’s need for natural gas.


Oxforduniversity wrote, “there have been many live recorded PhD environmental scientists who have spoken in Congress this year in congressional committee hearings with testimony there is no good evidence global warming will be catastrophic or that there’s anything humans can do to stop it.”

I wonder if Oxford can name one of these scientists. Even the scientists who work for the fossil fuel industry no longer deny that their products have a hand in the planet’s warming.

By the way, just for the record, I too am against what the SLO council has done here. It seems like over reach to me and I agree with Ms. Stewart that incentives to move away from natural gas would be far more effective, and cause less of an uproar in the community. But to simply deny that mankind and over 260 years of spewing carbon into the atmosphere is not responsible for the current changes in our climate is simply ridiculous.