ACT ON THURSDAY, MARCH 18

ISSUE

“The natural gas industry just made tens of billions of dollars while Texans sat shivering in their homes. So, naturally, Texas lawmakers are fast tracking a bill to reward the industry for bad behavior. House Bill 17 (HB 17) would prevent local governments from taking any action that encourages the use of electric appliances instead of natural gas appliances. It would even restrict the use of building codes to encourage the use of efficient electric appliances.

“This bill is part of a national effort by the natural gas industry to stop local governments from phasing out use of natural gas. Lawmakers are trying to frame it as a response to the blackouts, but it was filed weeks before the freeze.

“HB 17 is up for a hearing in the Texas House State Affairs Committee this Thursday (March 18, 2021).

“We’re thinking a lot about how to make our communities more resilient. But natural gas stoves aren’t the answer – especially because most Texans don’t have them. We don’t need to burn polluting fossil fuels in our homes every day just to be prepared for occasional storms. Instead, we can improve community resilience with solar powered neighborhood emergency shelters that can provide food, water, heating and cooling during disasters. For those who want to be self-sufficient, a cheap camp stove is a good option.

“Some Texans don’t feel comfortable switching from gas to electric appliances right now. That’s fine, because no Texas city has even suggested forcing people to get rid of their gas appliances. Even in cities in other parts of the country that have enacted “natural gas bans,” those bans only apply to new construction.

“HB 17 is a bill with a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.

“There are three important facts supporting electrification of homes:

  1. For new buildings, all-electric is the most affordable option to build and to operate.Natural gas appliances – particularly gas stoves – cause dangerous indoor air pollution.
  2. Gas stoves often cause indoor air pollution at levels that would be illegal outside.
  3. Natural gas is a significant driver of climate change – partially because of the large amount of methane that is vented during production.

“Local governments need the freedom to share this information and encourage a planned transition away from polluting natural gas.”

From the Alliance for a Clean Texas

CONTACT THE HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

Every resident of Texas can call or submit a written comment on HB 17.

If you call (see numbers below):

You can say:

My name is___________. I’m a Texan living in ________ and my zip code is ______. I urge you to oppose House Bill 17. This bill’s stated intention is to protect customer access to natural gas, but no city in Texas has even considered banning natural gas connections. HB 17 is a bill offering a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. And it would place unnecessary, wide-ranging restrictions on local governments.

This bill is so broad that it seems to even ban the use of incentives for energy efficient appliances. Thanks to advances in technology – particularly heat pumps – all-electric homes are now the most affordable option for new construction. Electric homes are also healthier to live in.

Natural gas appliances – especially stoves – create unhealthy indoor air pollution that can cause asthma and other respiratory diseases. Phasing out natural gas for new buildings and providing affordable solutions to retrofit existing buildings will be good for Texan families.

Please vote NO on HB 17!

(Adapted from the Alliance for a Clean Texas)

  • Chair: Chris Paddie, (512) 463-0556
  • Vice Chair: Ana Hernandez (512) 463-0614
  • Members: Joe Deshotel, (512) 463-0662
  • Sam Harless, (512) 463-0496
  • Donna Howard, (512) 463-0631
  • Todd Hunter, (512) 463-0672
  • Phil King, (512) 463-0738
  • Eddie Lucio III, (512) 463-0606
  • Will Metcalf, (512) 463-0726
  • Richard Raymond, (512) 463-0558
  • Matt Shaheen, (512) 463-0594
  • Shelby Slawson, (512) 463-0628
  • John Smithee, (512) 463-0702

If you write

You can submit a public comment regarding House Bill 17 here . Select HB 17 by Deshotel. Put in your contact information, then add your comments.

Sample comment:

I oppose House Bill 17. This bill’s stated intention is to protect customer access to natural gas, but no city in Texas has even considered banning natural gas connections. HB 17 is a bill offering a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. And it would place unnecessary, wide-ranging restrictions on local governments.

This bill is so broad that it seems to even ban the use of incentives for energy efficient appliances. Thanks to advances in technology – particularly heat pumps – all-electric homes are now the most affordable option for new construction. Electric homes are also healthier to live in, while natural gas appliances, especially stoves, create unhealthy indoor air pollution that can cause asthma and other respiratory diseases. Phasing out natural gas for new buildings and providing affordable solutions to retrofit existing buildings will be good for Texan families.

BACKGROUND

REPORT: Gas Stoves: Health and Air Quality Impacts and Solutions

EPA: Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

REPORT: The Economics of Electrifying Buildings/

Alliance for a Clean Texas HB 17 Campaign