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The Washington Post published two opinion pieces from Beyond Gas DC volunteers Barbara Briggs and Scott Williamson on the dangers of methane gas….
How can we expect our neighbors to pay utility bills, buy and maintain homes, and see a thriving future for themselves when we can’t offer them jobs, let alone a career? We can build a foundation for a green economy right here in DC, ensuring that residents of wards 7 and 8 are the first to access jobs to help build and upgrade these homes. By enacting and funding the Healthy Homes Act, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DC Council can invest in paid job training programs that would help create a pathway to family-sustaining careers….
The utility is resorting to deceptive tactics to combat a bill helping low-income people ditch gas appliances. The legislation would create a retrofit program to be managed by the Department of Energy and Environment that aims to provide at least 30,000 households with free conversions to electric appliances, including stoves and HVAC systems, by 2040. Should it pass, the bill would be funded by an existing surcharge on utility bills that flows into a trust fund managed by the D.C. Sustainable Energy Utility, which manages renewable energy projects and home retrofits. “These firms, in church language, they sow seeds of discord,” says the Rev. Lewis Tait Jr., the pastor at the Village Church in Ward 7 who has been supporting the bill through his work with the Washington Interfaith Network. “It’s a business, and it’s going to fight back, even if it has to use false narratives to win its argument and get people to stick with gas.”…
Citing poor performance and inefficiency, the District temporarily halted a $57 million expenditure Washington Gas had requested for its citywide pipe replacement program. Major investments into methane gas infrastructure run counter to the District’s stated commitment to become carbon neutral by 2045, advocates argue. D.C. recently released its Carbon Free DC plan, which calls for eliminating fossil fuel use in 90% of all buildings and homes within 17 years….
Last year, the D.C. Council passed a law prohibiting newly constructed buildings owned by the city from using fossil fuel heating systems. Now, a $103 million project headed by the Department of General Services includes plans for gas-burning boilers in a new D.C. Archives building. It’s scheduled to begin construction next year on the University of the District of Columbia’s campus. “There’s no wiggle room in the law — it literally says on-site combustion of fossil fuels is not allowed,” said Matthias Paustian of the Sierra Club. “We are talking about a building that will be in existence, starting perhaps in the second half of this decade, and we’re still building it with fossil fuels.”…
DC plans to be carbon free by 2045, which environmental advocates say is a great idea, if it’s taken seriously. “Ambitious climate commitments are a good thing, but ambitious climate commitments on their own mean nothing. We need action,” said Mark Rodeffer of the Sierra Club….
Mayor Bowser released the Carbon Free DC plan, which outlines strategies to slash greenhouse gas emissions and transition away from fossil fuels. The plan embraces electrification, but in recent months, the committee that oversees building codes in the District shot down a proposal that would have banned fossil natural gas in new commercial buildings. “The plan looks very good, but it can’t just be words on a piece of paper to make you look good when you’re at a climate conference, this actually needs to be implemented,” says Mark Rodeffer, with the Sierra Club. …
Through a series of volunteer-led air tests, organizers are measuring indoor levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution in 500 gas-powered kitchens throughout the D.C. area. The initiative started more than a year ago with the Washington Interfaith Network, Sierra Club, Interfaith Power & Light, and other grassroots environmental and religious groups that together form Beyond Gas DC, a coalition whose mission is to transition the District to energy-efficient systems. …
Washington Gas Light Company argued its case for raising customers’ gas prices by 20% at a public hearing Sept. 13 before the District’s three-person Public Service Commission. If approved in full, the rate hike would raise residential customer’s monthly bills by $16.48 on average, according to the Office of the People’s Counsel, which opposed the rate change at the hearing. It’s the largest rate increase request Washington Gas has ever asked for in the District, and would bring in about $53 million for the company. …