WA’s natural gas restrictions extremely unpopular – Inslee signs it into law

WA’s natural gas restrictions extremely unpopular – Inslee signs it into law

This article has been updated to reflect Gov. Inslee signing HB 1589 into law following original publication.

One of the more surprising pieces of legislation that advanced this year’s legislative session was HB 1589, which places severe restrictions on natural gas usage in Washington. The existence of such a bill wasn’t surprising – progressive lawmakers have been talking about this for some time – but the gall of those lawmakers to include some of the provisions they did certainly was.

This bill, among other things, allows Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to shut down natural gas service for their customers – effectively making this bill a ban on natural gas. It includes no support for families to make an all-electric transition that could cost tens of thousands of dollars and could lead to energy bill increases of more than $200 each month. On top of that, the bill could face challenges to its constitutionality.

It’d be one thing if all Washingtonians wanted this, but newly released polling shows overwhelming opposition.

Consider the following:

  • To fight climate change, 70% of Washingtonians somewhat or strongly oppose banning gas stoves. Only 23% favor such a move.
  • An even higher 73% of Washingtonians somewhat or strongly oppose banning natural gas for residential heating. 19% oppose.
  • By a 54-39% difference, Washingtonians say reducing the cost of electricity and gas is more important than reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • More than half of Washingtonians say they are willing to pay either nothing (37%) or less than $5 more (17%) on their monthly electricity bill in order to move to renewable energy sources.

Results this overwhelming do not come around everyday and demonstrate a remarkable disconnect between lawmakers and their constituents.

It’s also worth noting, this polling was conducted in February, before final details of the natural gas bill were known, and before families learned they would be on the hook for an average of $40,000 in expenditures to convert their homes to all electric.

And earlier this week, a government report revealed that electricity prices are already on the rise in Puget Sound, increasing from 12.6 cents per kWh in 2023 to 13.5 cents today.

With such overwhelming public opposition and potential legal challenges looming, Gov. Inslee faced pressure to veto this bill parts or all of this bill and send it back to lawmakers. Unfortunately, he chose not to do so and signed it into law.

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