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Washington state ballot measure would block gas bans

By Adam Aton | 07/09/2024 06:22 AM EDT

Natural gas supporters have collected more than a half-million signatures for an initiative that would crimp state efforts to electrify buildings.

A pedestrian in downtown Seattle passes a mural encouraging people to vote in the 2020 election.

A pedestrian in downtown Seattle passes a mural encouraging people to vote in the 2020 election. Ted S. Warren/AP Photo

Washington state’s plan to electrify buildings faces a new hurdle after natural gas supporters last week submitted a half-million signatures for a ballot initiative that would impede the state’s climate ambitions.

seeks to block both state and local governments from restricting gas use in buildings. The measure is backed by homebuilders and conservative activists, as well as hotel and restaurant owners.

If approved by voters, the initiative would require utilities to offer the fossil fuel to any customer in their service area that might reasonably demand it. And it would unwind a new state law that pushed utilities to plan for the electrification of buildings that currently run on gas.

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The initiative is almost certain to make the November ballot after backers last week submitted more than 546,000 signatures supporting the initiative — far more than the roughly 325,000 required by law. Supporters crowed it took them less than 50 days to reach that number.

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