State Governor Signs Controversial Ban Bill

( – On March 28, Washington Democratic Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a controversial bill that would legally allow Puget Sound Energy to initiate preparations for transitioning away from natural gas. During the bill-signing event at Local 46 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the liberal leader said that the legislation would allow the state to achieve “net zero emissions” and get out of the fossil fuel business by the year 2050.

The governor added that the planning required in the legislation, Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1589, guarantees that the state will prioritize vulnerable and low-income clients by helping them convert to non-carbon-emitting energy. Inslee explained that the move would improve the indoor air quality of their homes and would even guarantee that these clients wouldn’t be the ones covering the burden of “stranded gas assets.”

According to some reports, in the lead-up to Inslee’s signing of the controversial bill, many Democrats expressed their disagreement with his assessments on the matter. Many media outlets explained that the governor had been under pressure from numerous progressive and environmental groups in Washington and across the United States when the legislation was formally delivered to him back on March 7.

These groups wanted him to immediately veto the bill’s Section 7, which they claim favored Puget Sound Energy’s investors over clients exposed to cost increases. Some of these groups included the Sightline Institute, Washington Community Action Partnership, Washington State Budget and Policy Center, and the Sierra Club.

In an email sent to The Center Square, Puget Soun Energy’s spokesperson Melanie Coon said that the company not only supports the legislation but also opposes any veto to Section 7. She added that energy clients were already moving away from natural gas and said that legislation would help them even more.

Meanwhile, some Republican leaders have claimed that the bill will ban natural gas and will eventually increase energy costs for every ratepayer.

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