Letter to the Editor: Initiative 2066 is misleading — we can do better

Readers Peggy and Jim LovellFord urge you to not put the natural gas initiative on the ballot.

At the Farmers Market last Thursday there was a paid signature collector trying to gather signatures to get Initiative 2066 on the ballot. It is being advertised to prevent the state from making natural gas illegal. The current law impacting use of natural gas impacts Puget Sound Energy. They do not support initiative 2066.

The law written a century ago did not allow Puget Sound Energy to offer alternative options to natural gas if it was financially beneficial for the company to do so. The law passed SHB 1589 does allow for natural gas hookups in new construction, but allows PSE to provide alternate sources of power to homes. The argument against any of these changes is that it will cost consumers to not have access to natural gas.

The truth is in the details. Electricity will cost more, but less in the long run, because their will be less impact on our planet. My thought here, if fuel companies were not subsidized by the federal government, maybe electricity would be less?

What is not being considered is the cost to our environment while we burn fossil fuels, especially natural gas which is 60 to 90% methane. Methane has more bonds between atoms than C02 and that means it can absorb infrared light on its way out of the Earths atmosphere, which is worse for greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The Climate Commitment Act funds and the Federal Inflation Reduction Act dollars provide rebates and tax cuts if purchasing electric appliances and heat pumps. The lower your income, the more help you get. The federal dollars are available next year, we hope depending on who is running the government.

The WA state Clean Energy Transformation act passed two years before the Climate Commitment act, requires utilities, like PSE, to create an electricity supply free of greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. The CCA also requires the state to become carbon-neutral by 2050. PSE cannot be constrained by Initiative 2066.

Brian Heywood, the hedge fund guy who got three other initiatives onto the November ballot, is the force behind I-2066. Not clear what his net worth is, but he spent $6 million of his own money getting initiatives on the ballot. Strangely, PSE seems to be opposing I-2066. There is a classic conflict here – and that’s between folks working towards a carbon pollution free future, and folks who want to do business as usual, never mind the pollution. The other group pushing Initiative 2066 are developers and house builders.

Bottom Line – Initiative 2066 is misleading and confusing. This complex issue needs more thoughtful attention than what Initiative 2066 is giving it. By the way, Initiative 2117 is also sponsored by that same gentleman.

Peggy and Jim LovellFord