Missouri Bans Natural Gas Bans
Legislators in Jefferson City recently passed a law barring policymakers in cities and counties from banning the use of natural gas in homes and businesses.
The law technically prohibits cities and counties from banning the use of any fuel source, but natural gas has been a target nationwide for cities attempting to reduce fossil fuel usage. Cities including Denver, Seattle, and 42 municipalities in California have banned natural gas for various usages in new construction. Brookline, Massachusetts, voted to ban natural gas usage in new construction as well, although this was later struck down as violating state law. The purpose of these laws is to replace natural gas with electricity, although this is complicated by the fact that electricity generation often requires fossil fuels.
Outlawing natural gas comes at a great cost. Heating with electricity is twice as expensive as heating with natural gas. Roughly half of Missouri homes use natural gas for heating and heating is usually a households’ largest energy expense, so banning natural gas usage is an expensive proposition. While no city in Missouri has enacted such a ban, several cities do have their own environmental goals, so a future attempt to ban natural gas usage was conceivable.
Ultimately, localities may enact policies on matters where the state has not spoken clearly. But now that the state has spoken clearly to prohibit local natural gas bans, Missourians won’t be subject to natural gas bans.