Contra Costa Supervisors on 4-1 vote approve all-electric buildings ordinance banning natural gas installations

Starting June 1, 2022; 200-gallon natural gas tanks still permitted for rural users

“Many of my constituents view this ordinance as an overreach ordinance and I happen to agree with them” – Supervisor Andersen

By Daniel Borsuk

Starting June 1, Contra Costa County will be the first county in the Golden State requiring all new residential, business, commercial and hospitality developments have electricity, and outlawing natural gas installation. On a 4-1 vote Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved the ordinance that attracted scant public opposition. District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen was the lone opposition vote.

The new ordinance applies to all new residential, commercial, office, and hospitality developments proposed for unincorporated Contra Costa County.  It does not apply to incorporated areas, except the City of Richmond that has adopted its own electricity building ordinance.

“Many of my constituents view this ordinance as an overreach ordinance and I happen to agree with them,” said Andersen of Danville, who cast the lone opposition vote.  “It is my concern this ordinance might impact commercial development nearby the Byron and Buchanan airports.”

There was no opposition to the Board’s ordinance that was up for second reading.

“This is a good environmental policy for the county,” said District 1 Supervisor John Gioia, who championed the resolution.

“I am concerned about the equity issue.  This could raise rents of low-income housing tenants,” said Board Chair Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill, who voted in favor of the ordinance anyway.

“I am supportive of this ordinance,” commented District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis after planning department staff answered her question on whether rural constituents could still own and use 200-gallon natural gas tanks for “emergency use.”  Planning officials confirmed 200-gallon natural gas tanks will be permitted for rural users.

“While this proposed ordinance has been charactered as an electrification ordinance, its purpose is to stop new buildings from burning fossil fuels,” wrote Gary Farber on behalf of the environmental group, 350 Contra Costa. “Therefore, solar thermal space heating and water heating systems ought to be allowed and encouraged.  We look forward to working with the County on additional programs to phase out fossil fuels in transportation and all buildings, new and existing.”

The move by the Board of Supervisors occurs when there is skepticism on whether the State has an adequate supply of wind and solar renewable energy in the Golden State to meet the demand for all electric homes and businesses.  The California Clean Energy Act of 2018 established a target for renewable zero-carbon resources to supply 100 percent of electrical needs throughout the state by 2045, 23 years from now.

Retain $2,500 Campaign Contribution Limit

Even though briefly considered a recommendation boost, the Election Campaign Contribution limit from $2,500 to $4,900, Supervisors voted to retain the Election Campaign limit at $2,500.

“I feel comfortable at the $2,500 limit,” commented District 2 Supervisor Andersen.

Supervisor Glover said as much as he’d preferred to go with the State-recommended $4,900 limit, he said “I’d vote for more money, but I don’t think we should.  Elections are getting more expensive.” Glover is not up for re-election this year.

44th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Ceremony Honorees

Supervisors also recognized 44th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. honorees – Gigi Crowder, an Antioch resident, who is the Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness as the Adult Humanitarian of the Year and Pittsburg resident, Kaia Morgan, a Senior at Ygnacio Valley High School as the Student Humanitarian of the Year. (See related articles here and here)


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