California Pool & Spa Association (CPSA) Board Chair, Jerry Wallace, published a commentary last week responding to the Sierra Club’s call for a ban on natural gas. In an article by Cal Matters, one of the leading news and issue publications written for State Capitol oriented readers, the Sierra Club argued that banning natural gas was one of 3 critical steps the state needed to accomplish in order the fight the risk of wildfires driven by climate change. The authors of that commentary urged state leaders to follow the lead of cities like Berkeley that has already banned the use of natural gas in residential and commercial building beginning 1-1-20. They argued that no resiliency comes from the use of natural gas, that natural gas is creating 40% of the greenhouse gases and that greenhouse gasses are the engine of climate change, which is fueling ever more destructive wildfires in California.
In response, CPSA pointed out that the Sierra Club, and other like organizations, that have fought to prevent logging and clearing of the forests and wildlands are the primary culprits in the devastation Californian’s have been experiencing from wildfires. The lack of logging, preemptive fires and wildland thinning has resulted in fire loads that will take billions of dollars and take decades to correct. In addition, failure to thin the forests and wildlands have contributed to more severe droughts as snow and rain fall stays in the tree-tops and evaporates rather than reaching the soil. And, with the density of trees and shrubs, there are too many plants soaking up the remaining ground water.
Moreover, CPSA points out that groups like the Sierra Club and like-minded legislators and regulators have, in the name of climate change, foisted numerous other restrictions on manufacturers, truckers and other commercial business in order to reduce greenhouse gas. Now, suddenly, natural gas is the real problem? Banning natural gas will just deprive Californian’s from using one of the most efficient and abundant sources of energy for both commercial and residential applications including water heating, cooking, and building heating.
To date, sixteen (16) cities in California have already instituted some type of ban on natural gas going forward.
On the positive side, almost seventy (70) cities have passed ordinances encouraging the balanced use of both electricity and natural gas. In addition, the California Restaurant Association filed a lawsuit in Federal Court last week seeking to strike down the Berkley ordinance.
CPSA has already retained legal counsel to explore filing a brief in support of the Restaurant Association’s position on this issue.
CPSA certainly supports environmental causes when a balanced approach is researched and developed by all interested parties.
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