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Broad coalition collecting signatures to put I-2066 to Protect Energy Choice on November ballot

May 16, 2024

A statewide coalition today kicked off efforts to qualify I-2066: Protect Energy Choice for the November ballot. I-2066 protects reliable, affordable energy choices for consumers and small businesses and prohibits natural gas bans in Washington.

Initiative supporters are working to gather more than 400,000 signatures. They have until July 5 to collect and submit 324,000 valid signatures from registered Washington voters to qualify for the Nov. 5 ballot.

The group filed Initiative 2066 in response to a series of regulatory and legislative decisions threatening access to the state’s supply of natural gas now and into the future.

“Millions of families and businesses rely on natural gas in Washington, including many who already struggle to pay their energy bills,” said Greg Lane, Executive Vice President of the Building Industry Association of Washington. “It’s short-sighted, costly and cruel to force Washington to abandon natural gas as an energy source when inflation is so high, and our energy grid and supply chain aren’t ready to handle it.

“This initiative gives families and businesses choices when it comes to their energy mix,” Lane said.

State policies restrict energy choice, ignore state needs

In 2023, the Washington State Building Code Council approved costly new energy codes that all but ban natural gas in new construction and some remodels. While natural gas is not technically prohibited, customers who choose natural gas over electric appliances will pay three times as much, and massive additional costs will be required to include solar, windows and insulation not required for all-electric homes.

During the 2024 legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill (ESHB 1589) requiring Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to plan to phase out natural gas for new and existing customers. This is even though hundreds of thousands of customers rely on it because it’s one-third of the cost of electricity.

Both these actions amount to a ban on natural gas for everyone in Washington state.

Banning natural gas raises costs for everyone

“Under a natural gas ban, Washington becomes even more expensive for everyone,” said Anthony Anton, President and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association. “If you pay a power bill, you’re going to see a double- or triple-digit increase, whether electrical or gas. If you own an older home with a gas furnace, water heater, stove, or fireplace, you’re going to pay more when the state forces your utility to stop serving natural gas.

“If you buy a new home, you’re going to pay more,” he said. “If you own a restaurant or brewery or even if you just frequent one, you’re going to pay more. If you buy groceries, you’re going to pay more. If you buy goods manufactured in Washington, you’re going to pay more. Voters should have the chance to weigh in on whether this is the right path for Washington.”

“Washingtonians care about the climate, but they want to make choices that are responsible for the planet and their budgets,” said Lane said. “This ban forces families and businesses to electricity from natural gas when they may need both.

“If and when, electricity becomes both fully reliable and affordable, Washingtonians will choose accordingly – without costly government mandates,” Lane said. “Until then, Washington deserves choices. This initiative gives all Washington a voice.”

Protecting reliable, affordable energy choice

I-2066 protects natural gas as an energy choice by:

  • Prohibiting the state and all local governments from banning, restricting or discouraging the use of natural gas in new or existing homes or commercial buildings.
  • Ensuring that any gas utility will continue to provide natural gas to customers who want it.
  • Stopping the state from limiting natural gas service to homes and businesses, like restaurants and breweries.
  • Protecting people from forced electrification.
  • Keeping Washington warm when the power grid is near capacity during freezing weather.

It does not:

  • Force anyone to use natural gas or natural gas appliances.
  • Take away energy incentives and rebates for those who choose them.
  • Reduce the state’s commitment to addressing climate change.

The initiative has broad support from organizations like:

  • Building Industry Association of Washington
  • Washington Hospitality Association
  • Associated General Contractors of Washington
  • Washington Aggregates & Concrete Association
  • NW Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association
  • Washington Denturist Association
  • Associated Builders & Contractors Western WA Chapter
  • Associated Builders & Contractors Inland Pacific Chapter
  • And more.


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