Michigan lawmakers try to block local governments from making energy choices

LANSING – Michigan lawmakers are considering a bill (HB 4575) that would prohibit local state governments from making choices regarding the continued use of fossil gas in homes and buildings, limiting their options to meet needs health, energy and economics of their residents. The bill would prohibit towns and villages from enacting “gas bans” for both new and existing buildings. While such bans are unlikely to be enforced in Michigan, the legislation would set a bad precedent by removing tools from the toolbox that cities and towns could use to clean up pollution from buildings and improve the quality of the building. air inside and outside homes.

HB 4575 is part of a coordinated effort by the gas industry to maintain its market share. An NPR briefing revealed that the American Gas Association, funded by consumer dollars, was working in 20 states (and counting) to push for pre-emption legislation like HB 4575 to protect their profits and prevent communities to advance their own energy policies for buildings. Similar bills have been passed in the Midwest in recent months, including Iowa, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas.

The following is a statement from Derrell Slaughter, Michigan Clean Energy Advocate to the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):

“Listen, you either believe in local control or you don’t. This bill robs municipal leaders of the ability to make decisions that have a huge impact on the health and economy of their communities. This should be a major concern in Michigan, where the loss of local control has had disastrous effects on many cities. It is much more of a national business organization with questionable priorities trying to stop local governments from doing what is best for the costs and health of residents.

“Healthy electric homes are gaining momentum as technologies continue to improve. Efficient all-electric construction is often cheaper, less polluting, and safer than burning fossil fuels in our buildings – and electric heating technology is available even today for Michigan’s cold climate. Michigan should encourage, not eradicate, local authorities to provide these benefits to our communities and families. ”

Background:

Buildings are consumers of fossil fuels which are responsible for about a third of the gas consumed in the United States each year. This fossil gas (also called “natural gas”) is mainly used for space heating and water heating. To tackle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the burning of fossil gases in buildings, municipalities across the country have used their powers over building energy codes and other means to encourage buildings that use more efficient, cleaner and healthier electrical technologies. To learn more about gas pre-emption bills, see this NRDC blog.

More and more studies indicate that burning fossil gas in buildings is dangerous for human health, costly for consumers and a major contributor to the climate crisis. Communities are exploring ways to move away from polluting energy sources (such as the use of fossil gas) for home heating and cooking and towards electricity – which is cheaper, less polluting and healthier, to especially as we are moving more and more towards renewable energy sources in Michigan. For more on the facts, see this HB 4575 fact sheet.

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NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international non-profit environmental organization with over 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.


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