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EGEB: US cities are banning natural gas — and states are trying to stop them

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Local and state governments are at odds over natural gas bans.
  • Connecticut lawmaker wants insurers to pull away from fossil fuels.
  • Northwestern Arizona will get hundreds of jobs as the result of a new wind farm.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Local natural gas bans

US cities, especially in California and the Northeast, are increasingly banning natural gas in buildings, and at least five US states are pushing back.

Berkeley, California, banned natural gas last July, and more than 20 California cities followed suit.

Mississippi, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee have all introduced bills that prohibit gas bans in buildings. As Electrek reported, Arizona passed this legislation in February — with help, of course, from natural gas businesses — and the other five states have plenty of backing from the same groups.

Natural gas is a fossil fuel that causes emissions. While it produces less carbon dioxide than coal, it is not “clean,” like the natural gas industry claims in its PR campaigns. As Reuters states:

Research is mounting that natural gas contributes significantly to global warming by leaking from drilling, piping, compressing, and distribution infrastructure. Methane, the main component of natural gas, is many times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

Insurance: Say no to fossil fuels

Connecticut is a major insurance hub. There are 1,478 domestic and non-domestic insurance companies licensed to do business in the state.

And now, Connecticut state senator Matt Lesser (D), who is a co-chair of the state senate’s insurance committee, is pushing a bill that would require the state’s insurance commissioner to study and report on climate change issues.

According to Lesser, via S&P Global:

The bill aims to create transparency about both the support insurers provide to the fossil fuel industry and the risks the insurance industry is taking on when it comes to climate change.

The bill would require the commissioner to determine if Connecticut-based or licensed insurers disclosed investments in fossil fuels and whether or not they were involved in underwriting for fossil fuels, including coal and tar sands projects. It would also require a study of whether insurers engaged a third party to assess their investment portfolios for exposure to climate risk.

Ross Hammond, senior strategist at Insure Our Future and The Sunrise Project, said:

It’s clear that pressure is rapidly growing on US insurers to end their support for fossil fuels. There’s simply no justification anymore for insuring and investing in the very things that are causing the climate crisis.

New wind farm in northwestern Arizona

The construction of a new wind farm in northwestern Arizona will create around 300 jobs. BP Wind Energy North America will begin work this year on a 38-square-mile wind farm in White Hills, about 40 miles north of Kingman, Arizona, and south of Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

The Mohave County Wind Farm will generate enough energy to power 175,000 homes.

NextEra Energy Renewables Holdings LLC and Mohave County Wind Farm LLC own the wind farm. The wind farm will be online by December 2020. It will provide power to the grid by connecting with Western Area Power Administration’s Mead-Peacock transmission line.

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Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.