To: The DC Council
Dear Chairman Mendelson and Members of the DC Council,
The DC Council must pass and fund the Healthy Homes Act this year to protect DC residents from the climate and public health threat of burning fossil fuels in our homes. The Healthy Homes Act would allow households with low and moderate incomes to switch from fossil fuels to clean and efficient electric heating and induction cooking with no out-of-pocket costs, including for purchase and installation.
Gas burned in buildings for heating and cooking pollutes indoor air with toxic compounds linked to asthma, cancer, and other serious ailments. Research has shown that children growing up in homes with gas appliances are 42% more likely to develop asthma, and that children in homes with gas appliances have similar asthma rates as children who grow up with cigarette smokers.
About a quarter of DC’s total climate pollution comes from methane gas that is drilled through a process called fracking and then pumped into our homes to be burned in furnaces, hot water heaters, stoves, and ovens. Fracked gas prices increased more than 50% last year. And the costs will continue to skyrocket – Washington Gas is seeking to charge DC residents almost $5 billion dollars just to maintain its existing gas infrastructure.
Clean and efficient electric systems are more affordable than ever, especially with the millions of dollars in federal incentives coming to DC to transition our buildings off fossil fuels. Supplementing the federal funding with local dollars will ensure that DC’s most vulnerable residents are first in line to receive the benefits of clean energy and not forced to bear the health impacts and high costs of dirty energy.
Passage of the Healthy Homes Act is not enough to guarantee DC residents will receive the benefits of clean and affordable energy. The Healthy Homes Act must also be fully funded in this year’s budget to ensure we do not forgo federal funding that will empower DC residents to improve air quality in their homes, cut climate pollution, and free themselves of ever-increasing fossil fuel costs.
To meet DC’s climate commitments, to protect public health, and to reduce energy costs, the DC Council must pass and fully fund the Healthy Homes Act this year.