During a work session on July 10, the Eugene City Council voted unanimously to repeal its ban on natural gas in new homes, removing it from the ballot in November. The City Council made this decision in large part because of the community's advocacy for energy choice. The City Council heard the energy choice message loud and clear from thousands (literally!) of Eugene residents, businesses and organizations.
The community's support of our campaign cannot be understated. In fact, Councilor Mike Clark (Ward 5) directly attributed the reversal to the number of signatures gathered to get the gas ban on the ballot.
How did the gas ban get on the ballot in the first place?
On February 6, Eugene City Councilors passed a natural gas ban that eliminates energy choices for new homes – the first step on the path toward a complete ban across all of Eugene. The unilateral decision was made during a session that was closed to public comment, despite thousands of residents, workers and community leaders who registered their opposition in writing and earlier meetings.
In response to the Council decision to pass the gas ban, Eugene for Energy Choice launched a signature-gathering campaign to refer the issue to the ballot – because we believe all Eugene residents should have a voice in choosing what energy system is right for them. In just 30 days, we collected nearly twice the amount of signatures required to send the City Council’s ban on natural gas in new homes to the ballot on November 7.
We are obviously not alone in our belief that residents have the right to choose their energy source. In April of this year, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a ban on natural gas in new construction in Berkley, California, finding that the city’s ordinance bypassed important federal energy regulations.
So, what happens now?
Following the Council vote on July 10 to repeal the gas ban from the ballot, Councilor Lyndsie Leech (Ward 7) put forward a motion to have city staff bring back potentially similar efforts by 2024. Other members of the City Council and activist groups have also already signaled they want to revisit gas bans.
Eugene for Energy Choice will monitor any developments, share updates with you and make sure the Council hears our voice. When we speak together, our voice has an impact: The unanimous repeal of the gas ban is proof positive of that.
When it comes to energy choice, the citizens of Eugene have continued to speak up – and our voices are heard loud and clear: We say NO to a gas ban.