San Luis Obispo pauses natural gas ban, again

July 18, 2023


The San Luis Obispo City Council voted in April to suspend its natural gas ban for new construction after three federal appellate court judges ruled an identical ban in Berkeley was not legal. However, the city continued pushing developers with building permits to abide by the suspended law, until today.

On Tuesday, city staff  announced it had paused enforcement of its all-electric new buildings ordinance until further notice. In addition, the city will no longer deny building permit applications because the project includes natural gas hookups.

While the city is now allowing builders to install natural gas infrastructure, it is warning of possible future issues.

“It’s important to note that mixed-fuel applicants may have to modify their building plans to be all-electric during construction if the court’s ruling is overturned, even if the project has an approved permit to include natural gas,” the city said in a press release on Tuesday. “The City remains committed to its Climate Action Plan for Community Recovery and becoming a carbon neutral community by 2035.”

After voting to ban gas appliances in 2019, worried about legal issues the SLO City Council dropped the ban. In 2020, the council voted to provide incentives for developers who built all-electric structures, but only about half chose the incentives.

Then in 2022, the council decided to copy Berkeley and ban natural gas lines to new construction, effective Jan. 1, 2023.

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“The City remains committed to its Climate Action Plan for Community Recovery and becoming a carbon neutral community by 2035.” What a joke our city is. They say stuff like this in their press releases, but don’t walk the walk themselves. They do no analysis of the carbon released by their own projects, like street re-paving, to see if they could reduce it by using other materials or methods — or not doing it at all. Likewise bicycle infrastructure: they ASSUME bikes are zero-carbon transport but don’t bother to factor in all the carbon released in building the overkill bike facilities that are cruddying up town. I think in most people’s minds this would be called hypocrisy, but at city hall it’s called progress and “moving in the right direction.”

Wwjd? I think I know. Eat the rich. Ruin their space. Make them want to leave here. The best thing to happen here was rich people thinking racists live here and hopefully avoiding pillaging our home. Rich people hate ignorance, unless it’s their own.

Is natural gas a carcinogen and causes cancer quickly and lasts in the atmosphere for eons? Does living by a highway increase your odds of dementia by 30% if living within 100 yards? Is something that’s meant to be underground released into our biosphere going to throw off a chemical balance as Elon Musk says? Hm. Hm hm hm. Is gas flammable? Do gas lines break? Who owns Gas? Do we? Answers are pretty obvious. I dare anyone to breathe in natural gas in a closed room for an hour, see if you hold up? Do people run car exhaust in a closed space to end it? Hm hm hm

Bottom line is that if we continue to spew fossil fuels (and natural gas is certainly on the low end of carbon producing energy) we will be in a world of hurt in the near future.

One of the biggest problems is the looming water shortage. It is a serious issue in the southern hemisphere and will directly impact global politics. As desertification continues in places like North Africa and Syria, more “climate change migrants” will seek to come north. Governments in Europe are seeing the rise of anti-immigrant policies and in America, we have already lived through a virulently anti-immigrant presidential administration.

It will only get worse if we do not reel back our usage of fossil fuels. We have the solutions. It will only take the wherewithal of government to stick to policies which will reduce carbon.

Here are some excellent stories to ponder:

Climate migration is an argument for strong US borders.

No, it’s the reason why we need to fix the problem we made.

What, are we going to deny refugees from countries who have seen their coastlines recede and their agricultural land go arid? Can we really do that? And then look at the pictures of Central American children with the distended stomachs of malnutrition.

Are we willing to put up an impenetrable wall? Sounds mighty dystopian to me.

The U.S. burns 5 million tons of carbon every year. We need to slash that number in half in the next 20 years and make treaties with China that they will do the same. If we don’t, the future will be a lot different than the present.

I just don’t know why there is a faction of Americans who would deny that we need to change our ways when it comes to energy renewables and the sustainability of our lifestyles. Electric stoves are just a small part of that. Are we that damned spoiled that we can’t give that up?

Thank you Adam for being one of the few Academic voices here. Your throwing hotdogs down hallways though.

“Are we going to deny refugees from countries …”

When is the last time you drove across America, or across California for that matter? You know the backroads, the real city, the places that ain’t pretty or safe. There are a lot of struggling folks right here.

Some countries are overpopulated; the many are exploited by the few; violence, drugs and crime dominate; where human life isn’t worth a nickel.

Beyond the Uncle Sucker’s (USA) power to redeem.

Electric stoves are inefficient for the same reason incandescent bulbs are inefficient. Electric to heat is inefficient. Go check out the breakers in a home electric panel. Electric to heat gobbles power.

If we want to change the planet the first thing we can do is get rid of concepts that don’t work.

You just don’t get it. We have to stop burning fossil fuels, period. That includes natural gas. Wind, solar and nuclear (obvious problems there but I do support the current refurbishment of Diablo) are by far the most efficient, cheapest and best ways to generate energy. Hemming and hawing over natural gas simply sets us back from our long term goal of being a zero-emission state.

As for climate refugees, the entire push toward 100% renewables is the very best way we can avoid having to deal with these folks.

The climate we ruined?. And then deny refugees from failed governments we created with war, death and materialism and the homes they fled we destroyed? Imperialism, thank God, is finite. And we are a Roman empire about to fall, and boy golly, I smile and the suffering and it’s irony. Poetic tragedy is so sad, and beautiful. Kill what you love because one wants to die.

Facts and science are scary; empathy is learned sadly, and there are so many spoiled psychopaths lacking it. Hope they get theirs.

So the US completely illiminates the use of fossil fuels but all the othe greater polluting countries like China continue to do what they want what then? Also when you say we lived thru a anti immigrant president you can’t be referring to this pres Biden as his policies are come one come all we will help you before our own citizens. The water issue is a lot the fault of Government as there hasn’t been any real program to catch and store the water we still let millions of acre ft run into ocean. Why don’t we put just as much effort into that as we do getting off fossil fuel? We can build new refinery’s and other fossil run plants to be almost carbon neutral but the Government won’t let us

Banning gas stoves in a seafood paradise?…. yeah right… every chef in the county would revolt… I’m still waiting to find out why the government is so negative on natural gas… it doesn’t make any sense…

Yeah, not likes it’s poisonous and our biosphere can’t handle it, hence it was underground. Boomers will never know, until their final breathe on their death bed pleading to some god for forgiveness as their kids die in climate events.

Florida coastal water=100 degree; ie, no more sea food, ever again. Thanks natural gas! as David Bowie said, 5 years, that’s all we got. It’s all too late, eat your cake Marie.

Please show me the stats where natural gas is is hurting the climate in reference to the electricity which by the way is mostly produced from coal,oil,natural gas. You won’t save any money on a house because you don’t install the gas system as the seller isn’t going to were deducting the gas system install as we didn’t put it in it’s just more money in their pocket. Looked at Home Depot prices gas and electric stoves are about the same price. The real issue in my view is how did this city counsel or any government get the power to tell what you can drive cook with or anything else like that.

These building laws are examples of poor ideologically driven thinking. Electrical appliances and all electric cars only move the carbon dioxide generation elsewhere.

The “all electric” concept should be called the “all coal” concept or “all oil” concept depending on where the power is being generated and where the “all electric do hickey” was made.

Want to help the planet? Restore a fuel efficient late model car. Buy a hybrid if you need a larger vehicle. Ride a bike. Use efficient natural gas appliances, varying orifices for different cooking needs. Have fewer electric features in your home, such as self cleaning ovens, ice makers, and electric vipers features that drain power.

Local cuisine and travel is wonderful. Small is beautiful. Less is more. Save your $.

Some one elects these people, the rest of us suffer because of these half baked ideas.

Why do housing costs keep going up? It’s inexplicable!

Well whatever reason, it is NOT due to a natural gas ban. The construction cost of a home will be cheaper if you don’t have to add the material and labor cost of running natural gas lines, and natural gas appliances are more expensive than electric, so an all-electric house will actually cost less to build and equip with appliances.

Correct the electric appliances are cheaper than gas appliances but running those electrical appliances,water heater, oven, furnace are not.

It is alot cheaper to heat your home with gas than electricity the same with a water heater.

So will the SLO city council get us all reduced electric rates?

I doubt it.

– if you ran gas lines to the dryer, range, and water heater, prior to this year, that would be all you’d have to do. Now the state requires running electrical wire also, In case the future owner wants to use electrical in the future. Completely wasted material. Have you priced out 6-3 wire lately?

– if the gas appliances are more expensive (I don’t believe they are) that doesn’t mean they’re cheaper to run, which is a far bigger cost to a future owner. In other states, electric appliances make sense because electricity is far cheaper. That’s not the case here. But the future cost to the homeowner isn’t important to our pals in Sacramento.

– but my main reason for my comment was the insanity from the city.

“It’s important to note that mixed-fuel applicants may have to modify their building plans to be all-electric during construction if the court’s ruling is overturned, even if the project has an approved permit to include natural gas,” the city said in a press release on Tuesday. “The City remains committed to its Climate Action Plan for Community Recovery and becoming a carbon neutral community by 2035.”

That’s giving approval to build a home and then taking away that approval on a whim.

Not really inexplicable at all. It’s gov. mandates. Plain and simple. As to banning natural gas, better we make sure our electricity is abundant and reliable before banning anything. We don’t want to be in a position of choosing a cold refrigerator or charging a battery-dead Tesla in the driveway now do we? Abundant energy is a blessing, we should NEVER forget that.

Until the planet who hosts us kills us, then energy means jack all? Is it hot here, or just me?

Housing costs are a macro economic event. They are going up worldwide.