Proposal seeks to lessen use of fossil fuels by banning natural gas lines in new residential construction
By Morgan Rothborne, Ashland.news
Ashland residents will have two opportunities to weigh in on a possible ordinance to prohibit natural gas hookups in new residential construction.
The Climate and Environmental Policy and Advisory Committee (CEPAC) will hold public comment sessions to present information, answer questions and listen to residents before pursuing the possible ordinance, according to a post on the city’s website.
The sessions will include some presentations to help residents, CEPAC staff liaison Chad Woodward wrote in an email. The presentations will include an overview of the background of the ordinance, the climate change reasons for considering it, an overview of pathways to realize the ordinance and some “basic economics” about natural gas or electric power in homes.
“After this presentation, the goal is to spend most of the time hearing from the public. We want to know what questions residents have. Most important, we want to understand how residents feel about the city possibly utilizing an ordinance limiting natural gas in new residential construction to combat climate change,” Woodward wrote.
The ordinance was first brought before Ashland City Council in March 2023 by the local youth organization Rogue Climate Action Team and an Ashland High School group called Electrify Ashland. The call to action began with a rally of hundreds of students calling on the city to consider an ordinance to ban natural gas in new construction.
At a rally ahead of CEPAC’s Sept. 15 meeting, student organizers argued in a series of speeches that natural gas in uses like stovetops emit fumes that pose a risk for human health and the environment. During the meeting, student demonstrators urged the committee to vote for a public comment period to help move the ordinance into reality. The committee voted unanimously for the public comment periods.
The sessions will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, and noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, in the Ashland City Council chamber at 1175 E. Main St.
Woodward and other city staff will be available at both sessions, according to the post.
Those who are unable to attend may offer written comment here.
Email Ashland.news reporter Morgan Rothborne at email@example.com.
Oct. 4: Chad Woodward’s title corrected. He’s the city of Ashland staff liaison to the committee, not the committee chair; Bryan Sohl is the committee chair.