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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Feds retreat quickly from natural gas ban, not so California

Uploaded: Jan 24, 2023

California launched the war on natural gas with actions by the Legislature and the state air board.
When President Joe Biden took over as president, his administration declared fossil fuels public enemy No. 1 in the United States while begging dictatorships to pump more oil when gasoline prices soared last year after Russia invaded Ukraine. The United States has an abundance of natural gas with the capacity to supply it to Europe and other places.
Earlier this month, a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Richard Trumka Jr., said in an interview he wanted to ban natural gas ranges because of their potential hazards. It set off a storm that saw the White House quickly backing down. Trumka, according to news reports, tried to get the five-member commission to agree to starting the process to ban stoves and failed to receive a single vote in support of his position.
Of course, California, sadly, is already way ahead of the curve on this issue. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District board is set to vote in March to ban the sale of any gas hot water heater or furnace starting in 2027 for new construction. In the valley, Dublin already has policy in place that requires all electric appliances and heaters in any new construction that’s not a commercial facility. Dublin took the action as part of its compliance with the state measure AB 32 for its plan to limit greenhouse gases.
Banning furnaces and water heaters likely is the first step toward eliminating gas ranges and dryers. Of course, the California electric grid already is incapable of meeting current demand and regulators have demanded energy utilities use green power. That’s the proverbial train wreck when the sun goes down and the wind stops blowing.
Remember, in days past, when the utilities would ask for the public’s help in limiting power use in the summer and fall afternoons. Now the hours of concern are sunset and beyond, 5-9 p.m.
Turn off the natural gas—which incidentally provides the fuel to the peak power plants that help meet electrical demand on those hot afternoons—and there’s another set of problems. Toss in that the Diablo Canyon Nuclear plant is scheduled to be closed by 2030 and there’s a huge need for power that is going unmet.
This is a classic case of zealots driving policy without considering the full ramifications of their actions. It’s sadly similar to the public health officials during Covid-19 who demanded lockdowns, masks, closed schools and other measures without any consideration of impacts. The country already is seeing more deaths than would be anticipated because of routine health screenings and procedures that were halted to preserve hospital capacity and safety equipment.
And the lifetime impacts on poor black and brown children will not be reversed without significant interventions to get them back to grade levels, particularly in reading and math.
Community.
What is it worth to you?

Comments

Posted by Compoundinggal, a resident of Livermore,
on Jan 24, 2023 at 10:17 am

Compoundinggal is a registered user.

It is appalling at how little thinking goes into decisions like this. The fragility of the electrical grid must be addressed. It is already stressed beyond capacity and there are already huge incentives for electric vehicles that the grid cannot handle. Redundancies in critical systems are important but lacking in energy to homes- it is rational to want gas stoves, ovens, water heaters etc when the electricity is off.

I would like to see more effort put into a robust electrical grid and energy storage and the moon shot of fusion. Support the education system in math science and engineering too.


Posted by Joe V, a resident of Birdland,
on Jan 26, 2023 at 1:41 pm

Joe V is a registered user.

You would compare the handling of natural gas actions with the Covid 19 epidemic. In early 2020 we were seeing refrigerated trailers with dead bodies, from Covid, that couldn't be moved fast enough. People were loosing loved ones. Teachers were apprehensive to go to a classroom with many children from different families, can you blame them. Hospitals had to postpone surgeries, because they were full with Covid patients, even in hallways. Our healthcare system was pushed to a brink, but thanks to our courageous healthcare providers, working around the clock, and a vaccine, we made it through. One last thing, If you are really concerned with poor black and brown children, there are many in the Bay Area that could really use your help, let your readers know how they can help too, don't use their plight to sound like you are all inclusive.


Posted by brad, a resident of Birdland,
on Jan 27, 2023 at 4:24 pm

brad is a registered user.

Our country has been cooking with Natural Gas for over 100 years. Tim Talk makes many good points, We have not yet developed any better source of energy ( think nuclear )
that we are able to use in mass production.
Thank about it folks - just try operating our country without fossil fuel.


Posted by brad, a resident of Birdland,
on Jan 27, 2023 at 4:24 pm

brad is a registered user.

Our country has been cooking with Natural Gas for over 100 years. Tim Talk makes many good points, We have not yet developed any better source of energy ( think nuclear )
that we are able to use in mass production.
Thank about it folks - just try operating our country without fossil fuel.


Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jan 30, 2023 at 10:37 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

“ You would compare the handling of natural gas actions with the Covid 19 epidemic. In early 2020 we were seeing refrigerated trailers with dead bodies, FROM Covid,"

WITH Covid.

Get it straight!

Dan


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