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Environmental, social, and governance risks and opportunities

Gas Stove Taking: Washington’s Ballot Initiative to Protect Natural Gas Use

Government is Coming For Your Gas Stove
Natural Gas

With 431,063 signatures submitted on July 2, 2024, to the Washington Secretary of State’s office, it is all but certain that a voter initiative will be on the November ballot to prevent the state from banning natural gas in homes and businesses.

Initiative 2066 would expressly protect natural gas use and repeal provisions of HB 1589, now chapter 351, Laws of 2024, widely referred to as “the decarbonization bill” that aims to transition away from natural gas.

In 1912, Washington became one of the first states to adopt the initiative and referendum process, securing the rights of citizens to make and remake their laws directly, and to provide a check over the decisions of their legislature.  

This Initiative explains on its face, “due to recent policy and corporate decisions, the people’s ability to make choices about their energy sources is at risk. Therefore, the people determine that access to gas and gas appliances must be preserved for Washington homes and businesses, by strengthening utilities’ obligation to provide natural gas to customers who want it, and by preventing regulatory actions that will limit access to gas.

Apocalyptic environmentalists supported by policy making public officials from Governor Jay Inslee on down describe a moral imperative that unless humankind drastically reduces consumption, our growing numbers and appetite will overwhelm the planet. And somehow the solution is mandating all electric buildings (.. whether there is enough electricity capacity and irrespective of the source of the electric power, coal or other fossil fuel power plants, be damned).

But rational thinking citizens across this country are not giving up their gas stoves to some wrongheaded public policy. At least 24 states have passed laws preventing natural gas bans in buildings while new voter referendums are simmering in response to government acts in other states from Maryland to Colorado. 

The language in the opening statement of this Initiative is emblematic of views held by the majority of Americans, “the people find that having access to natural gas enhances the safety, welfare, and standard of living of all people in Washington. The people further find that preserving Washington’s gas infrastructure and systems will promote energy choice, security, independence, and resilience throughout the state.

Noting the cratering public opinion over how much of a priority global warming is, this measure will be before the voters at the same time and immediately followed on the ballot by Initiative 2117 which would prohibit state agencies from imposing any type of carbon tax credit trading, and repeal legislation establishing a cap and invest program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

There is little doubt that Washington voters will dispense with their government’s attempts to ban natural gas. A poll released in May by DHM Research, an independent public opinion research firm, shows that 72% of voters oppose banning natural gas for new homes and buildings. And that is consistent with an Echelon Insights poll in March that found that more than 75% of likely voters say homeowners “should have a choice to continue receiving natural gas.” And 77% of state voters said they’d support a ballot measure to let homeowners and restaurants continue using gas for heating and cooking (note, that includes two-thirds of Democrats).

Washinton state citizens are going to vote in the November elections to repeal government’s efforts to mandate decarbonization (.. yes, a Blue state), and that is not because humans are around 18% carbon by mass, but because all electric building laws are wrongheaded environmental public policy, in Washington and across the country.

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