If you think there are better ways to fight climate change than banning natural gas, you’re not alone. Eugene residents, workers and leaders believe there’s a better path forward.
Click here to read more.
To better understand how Chamber members feel about recent local efforts to regulate natural gas and fossil fuel use in new buildings, the Eugene and Springfield Chambers of Commerce conducted a member survey in late Summer 2022.
The data from this survey shows:
- 79% of respondents representing commercial businesses do not support a ban on natural gas infrastructure in new homes and 82% do not support a ban on natural gas in commercial and industrial buildings.
- Over 20% of respondents said they would consider relocating their business if a ban went into place, representing as many as 1,000 local jobs.
- Over 75% of respondents believe carbon reduction related mandates should come from state or federal governments.
- Over 92% of respondents support local regulations on natural gas being decided by a public vote.
Click here to see the results and more information.
All forms of renewable energy are needed in a balanced, affordable, low-carbon future. Some activists demand the City Council ban natural gas in new homes and businesses starting next year. This, despite reliability concerns and a recent City report projecting that a ban leads to very little carbon savings (less than 2% emissions reduction by 2037).1
The gas system is important to decarbonizing our region using energy efficiency, renewable natural gas and clean hydrogen. Oregon requires the gas system to reduce emissions by 90% by 2050. Additionally, the local gas utility, NW Natural, has a vision for carbon neutrality by 2050. That's why we believe there is a better path to a renewable future than bans and taking away energy choice.
"We are representatives of a diverse set of stakeholders, including thousands of fellow Eugene residents who wake up each day to sweat the details on home ownership, home building and making sure you have the energy you need. While we come from different perspectives, we share a principled approach to thoughtful carbon reduction policies and believe in housing policies that ensure affordability, reliability and resiliency in the long run for the people we serve and represent.
That’s why we’re coming together today to call your attention to something that’s as disappointing as it is surprising – the Eugene City Council will be considering an ordinance that takes away your ability to choose natural gas and renewable natural gas in new homes and businesses."
Read the full letter from UA Local Union 290, Western Oregon Builders Association and NW Natural.
Families and businesses should have a choice of energy options to meet their needs. This is not a decision that should be mandated. The vast majority of Eugene voters – 75% – agreed in a survey by the respected and nonpartisan firm DHM Research. This same survey revealed that 70% of Eugene voters oppose a ban on new natural gas hookups. Energy system diversification and competition provide the best opportunity for accelerated innovation, including renewable natural gas and hydrogen.
Communities with natural gas have greater energy reliability. We need a dual energy system – gas and electric – to handle peak energy loads and extreme weather. Homes and businesses with gas service can have energy even when the power is out, providing a resiliency benefit for our communities. Two systems are simply better and more reliable than one.
Renewable natural gas (RNG) can turn a waste problem into a powerful climate solution. RNG projects capture emissions from organic waste (think landfills, farms, and wastewater treatment plants) to produce renewable energy that can be used just like conventional natural gas. By adding RNG to the natural gas distribution system we can prevent the release of greenhouse gasses from waste streams and reduce the amount of conventional natural gas flowing through pipelines. RNG can be considered carbon neutral because both combustion and lifecycle emissions do not contribute a net-increase in greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Looking ahead, the gas sector also sees emerging opportunities to bring low-carbon sources of hydrogen into the energy mix at a large scale.
Learn more about work on renewable natural gas and renewable hydrogen here.
We are a concerned group of workers and organizations who want to make sure you are aware of this issue so your voice can be heard.
- Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce
- Eugene Cascades and Coast
- Iron Workers, Local 29
- Lane, Coos, Curry, Douglas Building Trades Council
- NW Natural
- Oregon-Columbia Chapter of National Electrical Contractors Association
- Oregon Dairy Farmers Association
- Oregon Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association
- Oregon Hop Growers Association
- OPEIU, Local 11
- Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
- International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 701
- United Association of Plumbers & Steamfitters, Local 290
- Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce
- Western Oregon Builders Association
For questions or comments, please contact us here.