Indoor use of gas must go: The pollution dangers of natural gas are real.
A recent study details the danger that the use of gas stoves for cooking represents for our families, emphasizing that children who grow up in these homes are 42% more likely to develop asthma than others.
The problem of indoor air pollution from natural gas is real. Its damage is worse for communities of color and poor families who are renters and living in cramped small quarters.
For years, gas stoves have been making our people sick. If they were burning gas outside, the amount of pollutants they emit would make them illegal. But the standards for indoor air quality are different and haven’t been changed yet.
More cities in California have already passed new ordinances requiring the construction of new homes and all-electric buildings beginning in 2021. The list includes San Diego and San Francisco, as well as Oakland and San Jose, which were added on Dec. 1, totaling 40.
But with the sole exception of Santa Monica, so far no city in Los Angeles County has joined this historic shift.
Opposition to this change throughout the years by the domestic gas industry has taken different forms, including fueling fears of loss of industry jobs. But the shift to all-electric building will induce new good jobs to replace the lost ones.
It can be argued that for Latinos, these environmental justice issues are distant.
However, this isn’t the case. When it comes to public health, 70% of Latinos support substantive changes to shift toward clean energy, according to a survey by the state’s Institute of Public Policy.
But there is also concern that in its fierce opposition, the fossil fuel industry, which has invested millions of dollars in lobbying, may be using false narratives by pretending that they speak for Latinos. As a Los Angeles Times headline last week put it, ‘The Fossil Fuel Industry wants you to believe it’s good for people of color.’
A journalistic investigation by Politico.com shows that SoCalGas has invested in community organizations that ended up sending letters in support of the company’s preferred climate solution, renewable gas.
The California Public Defender’s Office, part of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), launched an investigation to establish whether SoCalGas used public funds to start a group precisely opposed to cities phasing out or banning natural gas in new buildings.
On November 6, US Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Nanette Barragán said in a letter to SoCalGas that the actions uncovered by the CPUC “paint a clear and deeply disturbing portrait of SoCalGas’s attempts to systematically undermine greenhouse gas reduction targets.”
The company has defended itself, claiming it has done nothing illegal, while emphasizing the importance of the existing billion dollar infrastructure for natural gas built over the years.
For all these reasons, La Opinion supports building electrification. It’s time for Los Angeles and Southern California’s cities to support the initiative and commit to making new homes and buildings starting in 2021 all-electric.