‘If it raises costs, and it’s going to be cheaper to live somewhere else, people will continue to move out of places where they can live near their jobs and commute longer hours…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) In an attempt to reduce its environmental mark, the city of San Jose voted to ban natural gas in new construction projects.
But some argue that by eliminating affordable housing it will create an even greater ecological footprint for the Silicon Valley, where costly regulations already have driven tech billionaires to explore other options.
San Jose’s city council unanimously approved the proposal Tuesday to limit the use of appliances like gas stoves, water heaters and furnaces in construction projects.
These appliances account for nearly one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the city.
The proposal also requires buildings to create accommodations for electric vehicles. Apartment and condo buildings must now dedicate 20 percent of their parking space to electric vehicles.
“If you don’t have the infrastructure to plug in your vehicle, then you’re going to be dissuaded from buying an electric car,” Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco said, according to KPIX, a local CBS News affiliate.
Construction developers have protested against the ordinance, arguing it will significantly increase the cost of construction. Councilmember Johnny Kamis said he understands their concerns.
“If it raises costs, and it’s going to be cheaper to live somewhere else, people will continue to move out of places where they can live near their jobs and commute longer hours, and that can actually detriment the environment because we have more cars on the road,” he said. “I would feel more comfortable if we delayed this. My whole goal is to not increase the price of housing.”
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said electrifying buildings and limiting the use of natural gas isn’t only good for the environment, it’s also good for the overall health of the city’s communities.
He then slammed President Donald Trump for removing many environmental regulations passed under the Obama era.
“We are showing through community leadership how we can confront this climate crisis,” Liccardo said.
This is just the latest step in San Jose’s climate change activism.
In early 2018, the city became the first in the country to adhere to the greenhouse gas emission levels outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement, despite the fact Trump had pulled the U.S. out of the agreement entirely.