While progressive states like California have zeroed in on preventing the use of natural gas in new construction projects, Florida has attempted to take a proactive approach in the matter. The Legislature introduced a bill that would prevent that from ever happening in the state of sun and sand. The bill, while ruffling the feathers of environmentalists, received support from the Florida Natural Gas Association and unlikely investors like Tampa Energy Company.
Nixing Natural Gas
With the current vendetta invoked on natural gas, California leads the state movement in axing the fossil-fuel product with 21 municipalities dictating full electrical construction standards. Although local governments have remained silent on the notion, Florida’s city of Miami indicated that if the city was to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, then it would have to activate a ban against natural gas usage in new construction developments.
Seeking fossil fuel freedom, 11 additional cities in Florida have expressed determination in making the notion a reality over the next 20 or more years. Although they are in a current holding pattern, even Tampa is attempting to join the natural-gas-ban movement.
Rebelling Against the Ban
Various arguments have been offered in contradicting the natural-gas ban. While they were voiced at the Florida Senate Commerce Committee earlier in the week, Palm Coast Republican, Travis Hutson, expressed his support of the legislation opposing the potential ban. He furthered that Floridians should have the right to choose their energy source, and the government was overstepping.
Florida is not the only state to take a proactive approach in supporting natural gas usage. Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Tennessee have all sought to prevent natural-gas bans by passing legislation to blockade cities considering this route to an all-electric energy concept.
Gas Stove Source?
The argument of natural gas’ future is so heated because of how deeply rooted it is within the United States’ power source makeup. According to a 2017 kitchen audit conducted by the NPD Group, 35% of homes in the United States are equipped with gas stoves, while 55% contain the electric alternative.
Citing indoor pollution, environmentalists have zeroed in on the potential hazards of gas stoves used inside the home.
“Fossil fuels are not just a problem because of climate change, but they also create pollution wherever they’re burned. And if you’re burning gas inside your home, then you’re creating pollution inside your home,” said Dr. Anne Mellinger-Birdsong, Atlanta-based epidemiologist and Mothers and Others for Clean Air member.
Supporting the belief that natural-gas-burning stoves are harmful, Palm Beach Country physician, Dr. Catherine Toms, indicated concern for young children. This was due to her belief in which pollutants are released by gas ovens.
Expressing opposition, Dale Calhoun, Florida Natural Gas Association Executive Director, stated that “there is nothing out there that the federal government states or provides that there are any harmful emissions to anyone within their home by cooking with gas.”
When comparing natural gas and an all-electric method, victories are often manipulated by assessing the funds associated with each source. The Rocky Mountain Institute indicated in a 2018 study that utilizing an all-electric power source was more economical. Assessing the rate structures in Chicago, Houston, Oakland, and Providence, data suggested that “in many scenarios…electrification of space and water heating and air conditioning reduces the homeowner’s costs over the lifetime of the appliances when compared with performing the same functions with fossil fuels.”
Calhoun, however, countered this hypothesis bringing attention to the cost factor involved with converting from gas to everything electric in the home. Capping gas lines and purchasing new electric-driven appliances create additional costs endured by the homeowners, in conjunction with labor costs to initiate installation labor.
With critics proclaiming local home-rule intrusion and others crusading for air quality, tactics are being devised to halt excessive overreach. Eliminating the problem before it ever becomes one, Florida’s capital is attempting to prevent travel down the similar roads blazed by Berkeley and San Jose in banning natural gas.
Florida’s bill is gaining steam with Polk County Republican Josie Tomkow’s sponsorship. Chaired by Tampa Republican Jackie Toledo, the bill has made its way to the House Local Administration and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee. With political action such as this, natural gas is finding steam in remaining a staple in domestic power generation.