San Luis Obispo City Council votes to phase out natural gas

September 4, 2019

Mayor Heidi Harmon

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

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.


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obispan

Did the Stalinist SLO Progressives, in their zeal for advancing a woman of color, miss that she might be capable of independent thought?


DWebster50

What is she smoking??? Go back to Pasadena. She has done nothing but turn this town upside down. Electricity is so expensive! She does this but goes to the Noor clinic to get her glasses. None of the residents knew about this on purpose so we couldnt oppose. Nice and shady Mayor.


1965buick

Will they now allow Diablo to remain operating as a ‘renewable’ energy source to power the electric appliances? Very curious… some people making big bucks de-commissioning to re-commission.


otisthecat

What is wrong with these people? They have lost their minds! How, how are we going to be able to handle the electrical demands? Will we have more rolling blackouts? Heidi Harmon is insane and so are her followers. I’m also wondering what she does with her China made flowers she wears? I hope they do not end up wrapped around a turtle somewhere!


DWebster50

I’m told her front yard is full of statues too! Better take those down like the ones downtown!


Rambunctious

Is there a majority of residents in SLO that are in favor of this?….I find that hard to believe….I’m telling you SLO…you have got to find a way to force mind numbed Cal Poly students to vote in their home districts…you must stop them from voting in your town…they are here for 4 to 6 years only but their voting snafus remain here forever…they are ruining your city…..


otisthecat

Absolutely right!


DWebster50

100%agreed.I heard her mind was

Already made up and the reason we, the residents weren’t informed of this meeting is because they were trying to sneak it by us. They knew we would oppose. Shady!


c.d.cox

Time to phase that old fossil gas bag out of the mayors office


DWebster50

Anen!


TKG

Kudos to Councilmember Erica Stewart for being the lone vote against this nonsense and for the right reasons. The rest of the Council are indoctrinated Chicken Littles crying “the sky is falling”. To quote the Bible “God forgive them for they know not what they do” but I won’t be forgiving them anytime soon.


And then Heidi and her Council appoints a Council Compensation Committee packed with her sycophants to consider a major pay increase for themselves. Now we will have to pay them more to destroy our fair town.


It’s time for all of us “unindocrinateds” to rise up and say “enough is enough’! These actions beg for a popular referendum to repeal them. Anybody with me?


DWebster50

Yes!!


kwake

I am


jebussaves

HH saving the earth one hot plate at a time.


OtisCampbell

As we’re clearly experiencing, the mystery ascension of an extreme wingnut does have potentially ‘bad’ consequences.


How about a blend of infrastructure resources designed to provide redundancy as necessary.


Like with most functioning municipalities.


Or you can load-up with batteries for those nasty outages.