Banning gas station construction started as a new political goal – Capitol Weekly | Capitol Weekly

In March 2021, Petaluma became the first community in America to permanently ban the construction of new gas stations. For a nation that has been ruled by cars for the past century, banning gas stations seems a bold, if self-destructive, move on the surface. Given the severity of the global climate crisis, and California’s statewide goal to replace the sale of cars with new combustion engines with electric vehicles by 2035, Petaluma’s decision makes sense.

“We really felt it was a win-win,” Mayor Theresa Barrett said. Los Angeles Times. The Petaluma residents seem to agree. City Council passed the scale Unanimously, none of the residents spoke out against the measure when the city planning committee met about it publicly. What Petaluma has discovered is that it has far too many gas stations for its size: 16 in its 14.5-square-mile city. Its population of 60,000 did not need that many gas stations. The existing infrastructure can serve them well enough.

California has over 15 million vehicles registered in the state. Before the pandemic changed working lives, more than 14 million Californians were working every day.

Combustion engine emissions pollute the air and lead to climate change. Underground tanks at gas stations also leak, polluting local groundwater, soil, and groundwater. Fossil fuel engines are in the process of being replaced by clean energy, and Petaluma decided to help accelerate that transformation. City gas stations can install electric chargers for non-combustion vehicles and take advantage of and help build that emerging market, and they can even add hydrogen cell stations. Petal small. She can do this. But other larger California communities have followed suit.

Cars have literally shaped the design, look, and behavior of all of America. Highways divide communities. I sewed highways in the countryside. Pollution fills the air. Oil spills covered beaches from Huntington Beach to Refugio State Beach. Drivers get angry at each other on the road. Drivers move their cars from a street-side parking spot to another location as part of their weekly routine. As Joni Mitchell sang, we are the country that cradles paradise for a parking lot, not to mention the modern world is fighting wars over fossil fuels. Americans drive everywhere, whether it’s miles to work or a few hundred meters to the corner store.

Sure, it’s not all bad. Road trips are as much a part of American legend as family vacations in cars. Sometimes it’s more convenient to stop at a small restaurant and have lunch in the front seat of your car rather than in your office. The Beach Boys put that yellow pick-up on the cover Browse Safari For a reason: Cars liberated us in many ways. Over time, cars also surrounded us. Depending on who you ask, California’s iconic image of a beach, redwoods, Yosemite, or the San Francisco skyline. For many commuters, the iconic image of the state is long parallel lines of cascading traffic, with cars jammed into their endless highway lanes. California has over 15 million vehicles registered in the state. Before the pandemic changed working lives, more than 14 million Californians were working every day. California ranks as the world’s 10th largest market for new passenger cars and light vehicles, ranking next to not only other US states, but entire countries such as Germany, India and Brazil. How do you ban gas stations in a car-dependent place like this?

Petaluma decided to do so.

In 2019, Petaluma declared a climate emergency and began formalizing its goal to become carbon neutral by 2030.

“We didn’t know what we were doing, actually,” Petaluma Councilwoman Linda Fischer said. Los Angeles Times. “We didn’t know we were the first in the world when we banned gas stations.”

California has over 15 million vehicles registered in the state. Before the pandemic changed working lives, more than 14 million Californians were working every day.

They knew enough. Not only will the city’s current infrastructure provide its combustion vehicles with more than enough fossil fuels for the remainder of the fossil fuel era, but Petaluma has decided that fossil fuels themselves also run counter to the city’s long-term goals to mitigate the impact of climate change on their community. In 2019, Petaluma declared a climate emergency and began to formalize it Its goal is to become carbon neutral by 2030. So far for this small Sonoma County community north of San Francisco, carbon neutrality means: the installation of solar panels at the Petaluma police department, airport, swimming center, and community center, which will offset energy demand at these facilities by 83% and save Petaluma nearly $2.9 million on agreement duration of 20 years; converting the city to Sonoma Clean Power’s EverGreen 100% renewable energy program; and natural gas generation from wastewater treatment at the city’s Ellis Creek water recycling facility, which the city’s waste disposal contractor, Recology, uses to power its vehicles. It prohibited the establishment of new fossil fuel stations within city limits.

“There is no need for new fossil fuel infrastructure, from gas stations to pipelines to refineries.” – Matt Krug

As part of its Climate Action Plan, the city continues to search for new ways to mitigate climate change ahead of the state’s 2045 goal for carbon neutrality, and the city encourages its citizens to modify their behavior to advance their goals, including moving to work in ways other than cars, conserving water, and joining the The city is in the process of switching to renewable energy.

If achieving carbon neutrality requires limiting new vehicle sales to zero-emissions vehicles, individual California cities need to start phasing out gas stations and encouraging the industry’s shift to clean energy.

The environmental nonprofit Stand.earth has supported the Petaluma campaign.

“There is no need for new fossil fuel infrastructure, from gas stations to pipelines to refineries,” said Matt Krogh, US Oil and Gas Campaign Manager at Stand.earth, Gizmodo said in time. “In California particularly, where state climate targets are required by law, new gas stations will have a short shelf life, and can be abandoned before they earn enough money to pay for closing and cleaning. This gas station ban is a logical step to avoid further stumbling Because of the fossil fuel infrastructure.”

In August 2022, Santa Rosa became the fifth community in Sonoma County to ban new gas stations, along with Sebastopol, Cotati, and Rohnert Park.

The grassroots organization Coalition Opposing New Gas Stations, or CONGAS, is also organizing Sonoma County residents to educate the public about the benefits of banning gas stations and accelerating the state’s transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, a transition Woody Hastings at CONGAS told fast company “It will come a lot faster than people think.” So far, he appears to be right. Petaluma’s decision led other California communities to pass similar measures to halt construction of new gas stations. Taken together, these measures are like a growing movement.

In August 2022, Santa Rosa became the fifth community in Sonoma County to ban new gas stations, along with Sebastopol, Cotati, and Rohnert Park. Santa Rosa is also the largest US city to adopt this measure. The City of Windsor is considering a draft law of its own.

Outside of Sonoma County, there are San Anselmo in Marin County, and Calistoga and American Canyon in Napa County. Los Angeles City Council member Paul Kuritz was Defend Los Angeles To tackle its own fossil fuel infrastructure, to protect its citizens from climate change and air pollution, and to bring those local businesses into the modern era to power non-combustion vehicles.

It was hard to sell.

In 2020, Los Angeles County had nearly 2,000 gas stations to serve nine million residents and many visitors.

“Given the Newsom government’s timetable to end the sale of gas cars by 2035, gas stations are a moribund business,” Kuritz said. Los Angeles Times. “Their toxic chemicals take years and millions of dollars to clean up.” Los Angeles neighborhoods such as Los Feliz and Echo Park, as well as other policymakers, have expressed support and continue to work on the measure.

The growing movement within Northern California, and the historic moment, provide evidence that perhaps Los Angeles, one of the world’s largest cities, can do it too.

Want to see more stories like this? sign for round, the free daily newsletter about California politics from the editors of Capitol Weekly. Stay up to date with your news need to to know.

Sign up below, then find a confirmation email in your inbox.


Leave a Comment