Eugene 1st to ban natural gas in new homes

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon

After debating it for more than two years, the Eugene City Council voted Feb. 6 to ban natural gas hookups in new residential construction with permits issued on or after June 30 and opted against asking voters to weigh in on the issue in May. Council plans to consider similar ordinances banning fossil fuels in new commercial and industrial buildings.

Forcing single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, quadruplexes, cottage clusters to instead rely on electric power.

That makes Eugene the first city in Oregon to prohibit new homes from using gas furnaces, water heaters, or appliances. It doesn’t affect people using natural gas in existing homes, although the council encouraged users of fossil fuels to switch to electric power and take advantage of tax credits and rebates to offset costs.

But it likely won’t be the last.

City officials in Milwaukie also have considered a ban on natural gas hookups in an effort to curb the use of fossil fuels that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions negatively affecting the climate and air quality.

Eugene joins almost 100 local municipalities across the nation to ban the use of natural gas in new residential construction, according to the newspaper, but more than a dozen states have prohibited such bans, saying they interfere with the free market, private industry, and individual rights.

NW Natural, which supplies 80 percent of natural gas in Oregon, opposed the ban, saying it eliminates energy choice.