Lawsuit challenges city’s right to ban natural gas appliances

November 26, 2019

By KAREN VELIE

A mere six weeks after the Berkeley City Council voted to ban natural gas appliances in new construction, the San Luis Obispo City Council followed suit. And now Berkeley is battling a lawsuit, and SLO could be next.

Last summer, noting plans to fight global warming, the Berkeley and SLO city councils voted for bans to begin in Jan. 2020. While some environmentalists touted the move as an important part of lowering carbon emission levels, opponents argued it would do little to change emission levels, while raising the cost of living in SLO.

In its lawsuit filed last Thursday in federal court, the California Restaurant Association argues the ban will damage the ability of international restaurants, which are prized in the Bay Area, to produce many of their favorite dishes.

The lawsuit also argues the Berkeley ordinance bypassed state and federal laws including the U.S. Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

Two months ago, attorney Saro Rizzo sent SLO a letter  in which he pointed out the errors in its ordinance, which he said would have a problem winning a legal challenge.

In late September, SLO City officials suspended the plan to phase out the use of natural gas appliances while they look into allegations Councilwoman Andy Pease violated conflict of interest rules by voting on the ordinance. Pease is a partner in Balance Green Consulting, a company in line to financially benefit from the city’s proposed energy policy.

In response to Rizzo’s letter, city administrators decided to revamp their ordinance. If the second draft is anything like the first, a group of businessmen and union workers plan on lodging a lawsuit against the city, Keith Gurnee said.


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oldtimer

Not to mention, how often do refineries blow up for whatever reason,hiking up gasoline prices, pipeline spills, a frigging global CARTEL OPEC operating legally with the Saudis; another history lesson, as a frigging price stabilizing monopoly; illegal in America fyi. What does it take to bring energy here? Only a goldfish believes we don’t export 3/4 of our dino to keep people in the “dino age”, just like China, we are better than that. John Peschong used this disgusting angle to support our Export of gas with his propoganda advertising company. Guess what, my bill is for energy with solar?, 10 frigging dollars a month!! And I’m back feeding to the grid every day, ie, to the poor! What’s the argument, I’d love to hear, a couple bogus jobs that cause rapid cancer? Ive seen that, been there, am over it.


citizensoldier
oldtimer

Permitting, processing and replacing any Dino fuel plant for solar per KWH is cheaper and safer. NPR radio; peer reviewed. Do you know whom sponsors this radio fyi, if you dont, google it. Complain as if you protest the world being round, people have and apparently still do. Cooking with gas is nice for “chefs and Hank Hill”, but the argument for that even in fell flat in CHINA, where it is illegal in Beijing to cook outdoors using……Fossil Fuels! !!! Yeah, I’ve been to the Communist jail house. #TexantearsandExxonsmears. If your land was to be TAKEN by a business, not the FEDs for a gas line next to a school, river, and hospital or even indigenous land, would you cry for your children and elders? Check out Oregon and Washington Columbia River. Not just a river, an entity. Snowflakes hate change they don’t understand, because they’re comfortable, and could care less if everyone else suffers.


Russ J

Why do you SLOnies vote for these fools?


oldtimer

Because they have hope and many who can afford to live here went to college. And I dislike Heidi and her giant floral BS.


citizensoldier

Good intentions trump commonsense in California these days.


Lmo

And imagine how much air pollution several hundred, or thousands, of private ’emergency generators’ would create. If you check SLO County Air Quality District regulations a permit is required to operate a residential generator… and PG&E voluntarily cutting power for safety reasons is NOT a valid use of a generator… per Rule 201, Section B, paragraph III. https://ww3.arb.ca.gov/drdb/slo/curhtml/r201.pdf


Boomer5

Can these engines be operated during periods of threatened power blackouts and are the hours accumulated towards the 200 hours?


ICEs for emergency power generation that are fired on natural gas only, and are permitted by the South Coast AQMD may be operated during Stage II or Stage III electrical emergencies declared by the Independent System Operator (ISO) and during actual or imminent blackouts. The hours the engines are operated during these periods in any one year are accumulated toward the total 200 hours.

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AIR POLLUTION CONTROL DISTRICT

RULE 201 – EQUIPMENT NOT REQUIRING A PERMIT

(Adopted 8/2/76; Revised 7/5/77, 2/23/88, 11/5/91, 4/26/95, 3/28/01, 11/13/02, 11/12/03,

and March 23, 2005)


D. RESIDENTIAL STRUCTURES

1. Any structure designed for and used exclusively as a dwelling for not more than

four families.


Humperdinck

Quoting that pdf (last updated 2005): “This exemption does not include IC engines used as standby power due to a voluntary reduction in power by the power company.”

Transmission E-19 & E-20 customers pay a lower rate as their contract has them agreeing to be the first large customers to be deenergized when system frequency drops. This is voluntary reduction by contract.

So, I read the pdf totally different than you. I don’t see “cutting power” anywhere in the pdf, I see “reduction”. The power company is mandated by PSPS procedure, so that’s not voluntary. If they didn’t follow the PSPS Standard/Procedure then the CPUC will have hearings and fines. If you were in the electric industry like I was, then you would know that Electrical Emergency Plan mandatory procedural reduction is shedding load of rotating predetermined blocks of distribution feeder load or at the transmission level (PACIRAS which replace Manual Deep Load Shedding in 2009) to maintain system frequency due to lack of sufficient generation. So, you basically have an outdated ordinance that hasn’t been updated for PSPS.

Most new gasoline generators have CARB certifications to be sold in CA. If a permit was needed, the vendor would be mandated to assist with the filing of the air quality permits.


Boomer5

I am considering adding to the house a emergency generator for backup electricity for needed medical equipment. I was told that it would require “natural Gas” for fuel. It is considered dangerous and difficult to store “gasoline” in large quantities. It would also require the gasoline to be rotated yearly for fresh fuel. Makes sense also that the fire department does not want to have stored gasoline next to a houses in sheds on the property throughout the town. The other option was to have 150 gallon propane tank on the property. I can only imagine what a “firestorm” that would be if houses had all of the flammable fuel stored around their houses.


IDBOUND

Natural gas is very affordable when I lived in morro bay my highest gas bill was 17.00 … Natural gas is very efficient