First heating oil, now natural gas in the city’s crosshairs

Two weeks ago, when we followed up on the mayor’s proposal to tax heating oil as a way of getting it phased out faster, we mentioned a remark by Councilmember Mike O’Brien‘s remark that the city was “working on” a proposal to address natural gas. He has since gone public with a proposal – seeking to prohibit natural-gas piping in new buildings. It’ll be discussed in the City Council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee, which he chairs, tomorrow afternoon. Here’s the draft legislation:

It would put the ban in place starting next July, with any new-construction application initiated July 1st or later. This is an early-stage proposal – tomorrow afternoon’s 1 pm meeting at City Hall downtown is scheduled for a briefing and discussion, not a vote. O’Brien was scheduled to join environmental groups at a media event about the proposal this morning.

90 Replies to "First heating oil, now natural gas in the city's crosshairs"

  • hard no September 5, 2019 (4:37 pm)

    So the city will have a locked down monopoly on utilities for new construction?  No Thanks!  Natural Gas is way cleaner than heating oil.  Let’s focus on the heating oil first and increasing solar capacity.  Focus on electric cars that will eliminate the most emissions in this region.  I don’t trust the city with a monopoly.

    • Meg September 5, 2019 (8:29 pm)

      Exactly what I thought when I saw this. 

  • Chris September 5, 2019 (4:45 pm)

    So all of this talk about affordable housing is just noise? They want to push out low-income people who couldn’t afford a tax to heat their homes. Out-of-touch rules made by classist, unconcerned politicians.

    • BStackpool September 18, 2019 (8:33 am)

      you are 100% correct!  It will effect the very populations the city claims to be protecting, our “vulnerable populations” e.g., the elderly, low income, renters!

  • Graciano September 5, 2019 (5:24 pm)

    Of course they do…, It would be different if it was… Seattle City Gas & Oil.

    How much of the money made from Seattle City Light goes into the city general fund???

    • WSB September 5, 2019 (5:55 pm)

      The budgets are separate.

      • HD September 5, 2019 (7:22 pm)

        So the answer is zero

        • chemist September 5, 2019 (8:41 pm)

          Certainly more than zero.  There’s  a 6% utility tax charged on gross income of the utility.  An Oct 2009 Seattle Times article said “The utility taxes that SPU and Seattle City Light paid in 2009 accounted for about 10 percent of the city’s total general-fund revenue.”

    • Thistlemist September 6, 2019 (9:57 am)

      Chemist and WSB are right…. Budgets are separate (Thank you WSB for always having true factual statements… You are the best!) but the tax brings in a sizable chunk of monney to the general fund. Family member works for City Lights and while the hydro electricity that fules most of our city’s electricity is cleaner then say coal, it is NOT as “green” as so many in City workings would like to have us think (I am not even refering to the issues that are raised by dams). Its not horrible and its better then some alternatives, but there is a whole lot of gas and oil involved is keeping turbines and dams running, let alone everything else that goes into the overall production of energy. I am very worried about the monopoly undercurrents these bans bring. Especially with SCL’s horrible billing history that still continues to this day despite the new Wi-Fi devices.

  • Mj September 5, 2019 (5:51 pm)

    Enough already.  No No and No.  Oil heat is already phasing out on its own.  Gas is a good energy efficient resource and preferred heat source for cooking by many people.  Further providing competitive options is important to keep SCL rates competitive.  Further, I question whether the grid could handle the added load especially on a frigid winter night!

  • M September 5, 2019 (5:52 pm)

    Why deal with our drug and mental health crisis when the evils of natural gas consumption are all around us. I blame Amazon. I bet they use tons of natural gas. 

  • Mj September 5, 2019 (5:58 pm)

    The City SCL bills include sizeable taxes.  Increasing the demand simultaneously increases city revenue from taxes!

    • markinthedark September 6, 2019 (9:53 am)

      A 6% city tax applies to your gas bill as well. The city makes money either way.

  • TJ September 5, 2019 (6:07 pm)

    This is beyond ludicrous and level headed people who can think for themselves and not blindly follow their progressive crusaders need to stand up and shut this down. Natural gas is considered a relatively clean burning fuel, but not green for the progressives here? While heat pumps are cheaper to run than natural gas furnaces right now, keep in mind they are going to drive up the cost drastically on electricity if some of their other plans come to fruition. New construction is just the first step. The next is making people convert existing natural gas to heat pumps, just like heating oil. And what are new construction restaurants going to do? Commercial kitchens do not use electric ovens or stove tops (good luck finding a electric burner that any Thai restaurant uses a wok on), let alone most houses. Seattle will be purposely sticking it to us with much higher install costs on equipment and soon to be higher electric costs while neighboring cities will never adopt this (Bellevue and Tacoma never will). All it is is a feel good measure in the race to the bottom for the ultra liberal Seattle, Los Angelas, San Francisco coalition. Our contribution to carbon emissions is like spit in a pool, yet they want us to be financial maryyrs. 

    • RS September 5, 2019 (6:37 pm)

      Honestly, even us liberals hate cooking with electricity.

      • West Seattle since 1979 September 5, 2019 (8:37 pm)

        Yes, I wish everything didn’t devolve into liberals vs. conservatives.

        • Bradley September 5, 2019 (11:07 pm)

          If liberal lawmakers didn’t attack citizens with CrAzY proposals like this, conservatives wouldn’t have to fight back.

          • Wes C. Addle September 6, 2019 (9:38 am)

            Same goes with crazy conservative lawmakers.   Have you not realized this yet?

          • Bradley September 6, 2019 (12:32 pm)

            O’Brien’s attack on natural gas customers is a classic example of this: “progressive” lawmakers backing the middle-class into a corner and causing them to reach out to conservative lawmakers to rescue them. 

  • M September 5, 2019 (6:09 pm)

    How about we encourage and incentivize more people to reduce the consumption of animal agriculture; the thing that has the most significant environmental impact. Start with the city’s commitment to offer more plant based meals at government sponsored meals; similar to Berkeley where they stole this natural gas idea. Or perhaps in our public schools. Has the added benefit of a healthier community being destroyed by obesity. For climate change let’s stop stepping over a dollar to grab a penny. 

    • TSurly September 6, 2019 (2:36 pm)

      100% correct. Unfortunately too many ‘Mericans think the taste of a paunch burger is worth the diabetes, heart disease, and environmental destruction.

  • Lee September 5, 2019 (6:14 pm)

    Anything we can do to lower CO2 emissions deserves our full support. City Light having a potential monopoly, or gourmet chefs getting stuck with electric ranges – those are much smaller and easier problems to solve than melting ice caps.Electricity from hydro, nuclear and solar doesn’t borrow years from our children and grandchildren, so we need to get as much energy from those sources as possible, along with reducing our usage overall.

  • quora September 5, 2019 (6:28 pm)

    The Council is collectively out of their mind. For the love of Pete we must vote them out.

    • Jon September 5, 2019 (9:32 pm)

      Will the village collect their idiots from the city council!  The worse council in the nation proving once again what idiots they are.  Someday Seattle will wake up from its idiot stupor! 

    • Chuck September 5, 2019 (10:41 pm)

      Thank you Quora. Could not agree more. Who are these people and can we see their re-election pledges? Bought and paid for, the lot of ’em. 

  • Peter September 5, 2019 (7:02 pm)

    This is a very good idea. Electric appliances eliminate point of use emissions that are just a fact of gas appliances and a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. All of the above commenters need to get their heads out of the sand regarding the serious problem of global warming. You can whine about the city and the government to your heart’s content if it pleases your anarchist ideation, and watch the world suffer while you do that. 

    • Sna September 5, 2019 (8:19 pm)

      This makes Seattle more green, but to the extent we use more electricity, the city has less clean electricity to sell to other utilities.  And those other utilities will burn gas/coal to make it up.   Wouldn’t surprise me if the net impact is close to zero.You need to increase the total supply of clean energy which this doesn’t impact.  It only readjusts the demand and makes the council feel better about themselves. 

    • Eric1 September 5, 2019 (9:01 pm)

      LOL Peter.  Electricity only seems green if you don’t count the impacts to non-Seattle communities.  Of course the city clowncil wants to convert you to City Light electricity under the guise of being a  “green”.   Banning natural gas is truly a “feel good” measure.  Seattle City light gets is power for 1) Hydro, 2) Nuclear power), 3&4) natural gas and coal.  Hydro isn’t a green power at all.  Do you like Salmon?  Orcas? Free flowing rivers?  The negative aspects of hydro does not actually affect Seattle directly but has various effects on outlying communities.  Nuclear power wastes will outlive human life on earth. Unless you bury the waste in Seattle, some other community deals with that too.   Natural Gas and Coal just makes other communities generate the CO2.    All this “green” electricity is generated in somebody else’s back yard and the you have to get it here.  Ever drive outside the city and see the clear-cuts through the forests for electric power transmission?  Do you want to live near the power lines and be exposed to EMF emissions?   How many miles of wire is used to transport all this electricity?  Admittedly Seattle doesn’t generate natural gas either but gas lines are far less intrusive than electrical lines.  I won’t claim either gas or electricity is better than the other but don’t fall for the electricity is so much cleaner than natural gas line the clowcil is feeding you.  I would be much happier if the clowncil would work on actual problems facing this city.

    • wscommuter September 5, 2019 (9:58 pm)

      What elitist crap.  Sorry to be crass and perhaps too blunt.  Your arrogant assertion that anyone who opposes this foolish idea has their “heads in the sand about global warming” is precisely why Trump and his ilk so easily caricature the far left.  Global warming is real and has to be addressed.  But intelligently; not through zealots ramming this kind of dumb down our throats.  The only comfort I take here is my belief that voters will make their elected aware of what we think of this really bad idea.   

      • Alkimark September 7, 2019 (8:24 am)

        Agreed.  And all that awful horrible nuclear waste would fix inside a football fields and zone.  Not to hard to find a place for that.

        • WSB September 7, 2019 (11:07 am)

          (A) “A football field 20 meters deep”

          (B) With radioactive waste, the volume isn’t the problem. It’s the radioactivity. And if it were easy to find a place (we worked in Nevada news through much debate over Yucca Mountain), it would exist. Same source: “This highly radioactive waste is currently stored at sites in 35 states because no repository has been developed for the permanent disposal of this waste.”

  • quiz September 5, 2019 (7:04 pm)

    Sounds great. Let’s do it!

  • Old Friend September 5, 2019 (7:26 pm)

    Ring the alarm .. SCL has unsustainable spending and needs to figure out how to increase revenue to cover infrastructure. 2018  city council approved a schedule to increase electricity 30% by 2024 (link) I find this proposal by O’Brien short sighted in scheme of things and backdoor approach to prop up SCL. I encourage everyone to write city council voicing concerns about additional regulation that monopolizes utility authority to one agency. Next up O’Briens crazy agenda will be “No backyard BBQs in Seattle” .. not environment friendly .., ugh 

  • TM7302 September 5, 2019 (7:36 pm)

    Mike O’Brien is a loony. 

    • PatsFanPNW September 5, 2019 (10:49 pm)

      This wins the internet today.

  • Shankley September 5, 2019 (8:05 pm)

    You can have my gas cooking range when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. 

    • Chuck September 5, 2019 (11:21 pm)

      Hahahahaha! Well played, Shankley. Well played. 

    • Kathy September 6, 2019 (3:11 am)

      Induction hotplate or cooktop is much safer and cleaner than cooking over flames. If you have to have flames once in a while, light up the barby on the deck or patio.

      • Bradley September 6, 2019 (7:25 pm)

        Our barby runs on the same natural gas feed as our house, which you and O’Brien want to prohibit.

        • WSB September 6, 2019 (7:48 pm)

          To be clear for those who don’t read the story and might get confused by the discussion.
          This proposal – as drafted (it has not yet been introduced) – is for new construction only. Not existing hookups.
          I wasn’t able to monitor this afternoon’s committee discussion to see if there was any hint of what might follow, but hope to do so via the Seattle Channel archives over the weekend

          • Bradley September 6, 2019 (11:17 pm)

            However, as 55% of single-family homes use natural gas and there’s already talk about taxing heating oil customers in Seattle, a precedent will be set if both of these proposals pass. A tax on natural gas will no doubt quickly follow. 

  • DogTheBuntyHunter September 5, 2019 (8:55 pm)

    Just saw Electric heat comes from Coal Fired plants.    Um this is stupid!   Let people choose.   Oil actually works way better then Natural Gas and is Diesel FUEL !  Who’s getting paid for this dumb idea! Focus on cleaning up the  CITY !!!   

    • Rick September 6, 2019 (7:44 am)

      There was a great cartoon years ago (I don’t remember the publication)but it hit the nail on the head. It was two panels,the first being one of a fellow with his head high and whistling away while plugging his electric car in (they were relatively new at the time). The second showed a massive coal burning tower belching out smoke. Arrogance,hypocrisy or both?

      • TM7302 September 6, 2019 (2:14 pm)

        • dhg September 6, 2019 (2:34 pm)

          The most recent official fuel mix statistics by the state of Washington for Seattle City Light show approximately 88% hydroelectric, 5% nuclear, 4% wind, 1% coal, 1% natural gas, 1% biogas

          • Brian September 6, 2019 (4:28 pm)

            The 88% hydro is coming at the cost of the south sound orca going extinct. The dams need to be breached and replaced with new gen nuclear power.The fuel citizens heat their homes with and cook with need to compete in the marketplace.  People should be able to choose.We need to invest in clean ways that make electricity cheaper. 

  • Spur September 5, 2019 (9:00 pm)

    Man, I know better than to read comments, but I couldn’t resist. Again, very surprised at how short sighted we humans are. Many construction professionals and HVAC contractors are already on top of this and are offering induction cooktops and heat pumps for heating. Both are a much better option considering our warming planet. Fossil fuels are bad. Is that really an argument still?

    • Matty T September 6, 2019 (1:43 pm)

      1. It’s a Chinese hoax2. It’s their god-given right to destroy god’s green earth (or at least make it a barren brown rock that pokes above the risen seas)3. How dare you take away their rights to harm the commons4. Libruls! The energy that is generated by the fury from the Seattle City Council should be harnessed to create a new division for PSE/SCL.

  • Alex September 5, 2019 (9:09 pm)

     Another issue Phil Tavel could use to distinguish himself from the incumbent.

  • BJG September 5, 2019 (9:21 pm)

    Two years ago I was getting “energy saving rebates” from PSE for the new gas water heater and range. My gas furnace too is new and high efficiency. I thought I was doing my part. What the heck! My head just snapped! These appliances are going to be around for a good long time. Sorry M.O. not suddenly feeling ashamed.

    • WSB September 5, 2019 (11:34 pm)

      The other interesting point is that the city and Waste Management very recently switched trash/recycling trucks out to natural gas with much back-patting. We spotted one of the trucks this afternoon – it’s emblazoned, “Breathe Clean Seattle, powered by renewable natural gas.”

  • Findlay September 5, 2019 (9:29 pm)

    I thought ‘The Onion’ had hijacked the Seattle Times website when I first saw this!  Mike O’Brien continues to amaze me with his misguided hubris (which you can’t help but respect!).  Am glad that he no longer will be a  Seattle city councilmen.

  • K c September 5, 2019 (9:39 pm)

    Sounds like we are doing such a good job in conservation with LED lamps and solar that it is affecting revenueso to protect City Light lock out PSE and oil the oil thing left is… wait for it… is city light for electric this is nothing more than a power grab by setting a monopoly city council has got to goonly we can make that happen vote them out!!!

  • 1994 September 5, 2019 (9:59 pm)

    O’Brien is not running for re-election & will be out at the end of 2019.  Not soon enough.

  • Joe Z September 5, 2019 (10:03 pm)

    Thanks for posting the actual proposed legislation. I was skeptical until I took a couple minutes to read it. The case for this is very clearly explained.Natural gas accounts for 25% of Seattle’s GHG emissions!!! So we have no choice–we have to start phasing out natural gas if we’re going to meet the 2030 climate goals, specifically the residential building goal (32% reduction). There isn’t really any way around it. And yes–the state/region will have to do its part and produce more carbon-neutral electricity. 

  • AJ September 5, 2019 (10:30 pm)

    Eliminating heating oil will only drive low income people and seniors out of the city, withpout ANY impact on the environment or climate. It’s a punitive measure with no upside. Another tax on top of everything else??? MERCY!!!!! Mike O’Brien can’t leave fast enough and Lisa Herbold does not care about the people she represents. ,

  • Bradley September 5, 2019 (11:14 pm)

    So, future Seattle homeowners can freeze when the power is out at 20 degrees while those of us with gas heat can stay warm and cozy? Sounds like an elitist attack on first-time home owners.

    • AMD September 6, 2019 (5:51 am)

      My gas heat goes out with the electricity as well because the thermostat (which tells it to kick on) is powered by electricity.  I think a lot of gas heat users are in that boat.  I also assume (and I know, I shouldn’t assume) that the new construction isn’t being purchased by first-time homeowners (cause it’s the most expensive).  That said, much like the oil initiative I don’t think the aggressive timeline is warranted or helpful.  Starting the conversation about GHG resulting from natural gas use with “and now it’s banned” is going to be jarring to everyone, particularly after many of us spent the past however-many years hearing the cleanliness of natural gas touted.  Ok, it’s not that clean after all.  Good to know.  Now give me a sec to carry out plans already in progress before shutting everything down.

      • Brian September 6, 2019 (12:16 pm)

        AMD, The blower is actually the main part that stops working when electricity goes out. The thermostat’s “electricity” are actual direct lines to your furnace that send signals .

      • Bradley September 6, 2019 (1:02 pm)

        Gazillions of us have natural gas fireplaces and living room “woodstoves” with simulated concrete logs that still work just fine when the power is out. We can keep our entire house at 68 degrees when it’s in the teens outside during a multi-day power outage. The other side of this is commercial, where new restaurants aren’t going to be able to use gas, which is the most efficient fuel for commercial chefs to cook with.  

    • duh September 6, 2019 (1:15 pm)

      Not sure how your gas furnace is pushing that heat out without a fan running on….electricity.

      • Bradley September 6, 2019 (7:21 pm)

        We also have gas fireplaces and living room heating stove with zero moving parts as I mentioned above. Our Honda NG generator provides enough juice to run the furnace fan if need be, but we use it for the refrigerator, freezer, and a few lights.

  • Yma September 6, 2019 (4:38 am)

    I don’t suppose anyone here in West Seattle is thinking about all those electricity outages?we have solar panels and we have natural gas. Heat  comes from the gas. My fireplace is from the gas and there is no way in heck you warm a good tortilla without a flame.

  • uncle loco September 6, 2019 (5:00 am)

    I’m looking forward to the increased power outages during those cold winter days.

  • TJ September 6, 2019 (7:08 am)

    Natural Gas is cheap, and there is tons of supply to tap into for the future. Seattle is one of the ultra liberal, borderline socialist, cities that has its ear to the United Nations climate plan, which is a joke. Micro housing, completely “green” energy, getting people out of cars, getting good people off of a meat based diet (wait for a meat tax here, there are already rumblings about it). And to a previous commenter, no, other local cities will not he forced into this. They can make a choice, and will reap the benefits of cheap natural gas. Want to know some of the reason this city is so expensive? Look at this city council and this proposal that expects us to take on much higher costs in the name of the environment, but in reality is just more government control. No thanks 

    • TSurly September 6, 2019 (8:45 am)

      Move to Spokane if you don’t like it.

  • WS Guy September 6, 2019 (8:17 am)

    This is another terrible virtue signal from the Council.  I just had both systems quoted as I look into replacing my oil heat.  96% efficient gas furnace: $8,000.  Heat pump:  $20,000 plus a $5,000 electrical system upgrade.And this legislation seeks to prevent any existing homeowner from modifying and extending their current gas system.Way to screw up affordability on your way out, O’Brien.

  • Greenmachine September 6, 2019 (8:32 am)

    Take a look at Seattles own Green Fleet program.It includes CNG and Propane as viable, clean alternatives to gas and diesel. Seattle has already invested millions into CNG fueling stations about 20 years ago, now closed by the way.This feel good initiative will do nothing more than drive up the cost of SCL power. 

    • chemist September 6, 2019 (9:53 am)

      I think Mike O’Brien would see a more immediate reduction in GHG emissions if the city just re-wrote permits for bikeshare re-balancing/carshare vehicles to all be electric vehicles, even those anonymous white bikeshare vans operated by contractors.  They could even make it a requirement of scooter re-chargers employed (or limit the folks who do scooter charging to a low number of bikes in one area to prevent folks from making it a job driving around to pick the things up).  With the current way TNCs are regulated in Seattle, I wonder if the city could require that they be electric vehicles too.  I just think we’re not quite there yet with on-demand water heating (gas does better than electric) and think residential cooking with gas is still my preference.  It’s true my gas furnace won’t run without electric to power the fan, but I still have a back-up wood burning fireplace if worst-comes-to-worse in a power outage.

  • Fish First! September 6, 2019 (8:36 am)

    Relying on electricity alone will make it much harder to bring down the dams on the Columbia, etc. that are killing salmon which means there won’t be enough salmon for our beloved Orcas.We humans can’t have it all. There are too many of us and too many people moving to the puget sound area. Non-stop development will leave the entire area paved over and built up with no room for a healthy environment. All in the name of capitalism. So far the only presidential candidate brave and intelligent enough to call for population reduction is Bernie Sanders. It’s the only chance we have.  No matter how ‘green’ any initiative is, they won’t matter if the human population continues to grow.

    • Greenmachine September 6, 2019 (9:18 am)

      Tearing down SCL dams would be pointless.JD Ross was a smart man. Diablo dam was built at the exact point on the Skagit River that was historically impassable to salmon.The Skagit River therefore has a very healthy population of salmon. That hydro project actually has benefited salmon runs by regulating summer outflow to higher water levels downstream than before construction.  Those who haven’t toured the SCL Skagit project should.Signed, Proud Retired SCL Worker….

      • Mike September 7, 2019 (4:56 am)

        Diablo dam was built at the exact point on the Skagit River that was historically impassable to salmon”  They cleared the log jams decades before Diablo Dam was built and went into operation in 1936 and various flooding changed the flow over time as well.  Not sure what you’re talking about, but hey, if you were there in 1927 when they started building it, you might know something that’s not on record.

    • Alkimark September 7, 2019 (8:37 am)

      The population of the United States is increasing due only to imegration.  Most families have 2 or less children.  Crazy Bernie needs to get his facts straight.  

  • TM7302 September 6, 2019 (9:09 am)

    Did TJ say “meat tax?”  I’d be rolling on the floor laughing at the ridiculousness of it all but then again we have a sugary beverage tax now.  Just let that sink in for a moment…

  • wsres September 6, 2019 (9:37 am)

    Really, they’re going to force restaurants and commercial buildings to not use natural gas? Are they insane? Oh right, yeah.

  • Elton September 6, 2019 (9:41 am)

    WSB: You misspelled Transportation – just a heads up :)

  • RJB September 6, 2019 (9:56 am)

    Can we focus on the homeless here in Seattle? A much bigger problem than Natural Gas…and I am not giving up my NG stove for ya ya, but come on.

  • Greenmachine September 6, 2019 (9:56 am)

    Perhaps Jenny and Council should look at the hvac system in the SMT first…That boiler system doesn’t run by magic.Of course, there could be a CO leak in the system, that would sure explain alot of things.

  • DH September 6, 2019 (10:14 am)

    Excellent! This is the type of bold action we need if we want to make progress on climate change. Natural gas is cheap because of fracking which is environmentally destructive in addition to climate impacts of using the gas itself. I look forward to supporting our city to be a leader in fighting climate change.  Also, I’m sure people can live comfortably without cooking with gas. 

    • Brian September 6, 2019 (12:19 pm)

      Your electricity is harming the salmon and ORCA population, having already ravaged indigenous people’s lands years ago! Everything comes at a cost, and natural gas is poor choice to focus on for climate change!

      • DH September 6, 2019 (2:53 pm)

        Yes, hydro power is a big problem for the reasons you state. I support moving away from that too. Solar should be expanded and wind (also has impacts for wild life) too. Everything is imperfect. Ramping down the use of natural gas in Seattle is not going to lead to dam building or stop the removal of dams. There are other barriers to dam removal and saving the SR orcas. If you lived where fracking is destroying the environment you might have a different opinion about gas. Also, if we screw up the ocean ecology with climate change the salmon and orcas will die anyway! 

  • Chris K September 6, 2019 (10:19 am)

    Bravo, Mike O’Brien.  Who is going to care about affordability when Seattle will be 10 feet under water in 12 years?

    • Rick September 6, 2019 (7:33 pm)

      We should be OK. AOC knows the world will have ended by then. As my favorite philosopher once said “What,me worry?”

  • Matty T September 6, 2019 (1:37 pm)

    A couple of points:1. A big reason why natural gas is “cheap” is because the costs of these resources are disassociated from the price of the resource. The true costs, which most definitely include air quality and carbon load, are left to … ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ to pay. If the true costs were associated in the price, oil & gas would be much, much more expensive than solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, etc.2. For indoor air quality, natural gas is essentially an unknown but signs are not good. For your own sake and your family, you should remove as much oil & gas from your own personal environment. There are no air quality standards set for indoor closed spaces as compared to EPA standards for outside, but everything I’ve read has been alarming. What passes for “normal” indoor air quality would be red flagged in an industrial setting. If you’re cooking regularly over a gas range, that’s really, really, really not good for you. Even if your gas furnace for home heating has venting, the byproduct is probably leaking into your home and into your bloodstream. Better to pay a little more for energy today than have to pay for some chronic medical condition later.I’m no fan of O’Brien, but our government official should be looking out for the health and well being of the citizenry. That’s one of their main jobs. Kudos to politicians with longer term instead of short-term thinking.

  • skeeter September 6, 2019 (4:43 pm)


    My family lives in a 1,600 sq ft townhouse in West
    Seattle.  Built in 2007 with electricity
    as only source of energy.  Electric heat,
    electric stove, electric water heater, etc. 
    Seems to work just fine and our electricity cost is reasonable.  This new policy seems like a painless and inexpensive
    way to decrease carbon emissions over the long run.  Is electricity perfect?  No.  Is
    electricity more friendly to the environment than natural gas?  I’m pretty sure the answer is yes.  If folks know of a better and cheaper way to
    decrease carbon emissions then let us know! 

    • TM7302 September 6, 2019 (5:19 pm)

      Says the person that doesn’t have to pay the cost to retrofit their oil heated home.   I guess that’s called “electric privilege”

      • DH September 8, 2019 (7:10 am)

        I did pay the price to retrofit my oil heated home personally with a tiny rebate in comparison to the overall cost and I agree that we need to switch to all electric. 

        • Tsurly September 8, 2019 (12:14 pm)

          Did the same, it was an easy decision.

      • skeeter September 9, 2019 (11:29 am)

        TM7302 – I don’t understand your response.  I made a post about natural gas being outlawed in new construction starting in 2020.  My comment had nothing to do with retrofitting oil heated homes. 

Sorry, comment time is over.