Radio Report: Republicans speak out in House Environment and Energy Committee against bill to eliminate usage of natural gas in Washington state

In a state House committee Tuesday, Republicans came out swinging against a bill they say would kill jobs and could potentially wipe out an entire industry. John Sattgast reports.

 Radio Report Transcript

SATTGAST: House Bill 1084 would take steps to accelerate removal of natural gas from homes and buildings, including use for space heating, furnaces, water heaters, interior gas fireplaces — even back-deck barbeque grills.

All five Republicans on the House Environment and Energy Committee outlined the damages they say the legislation would cause. Pomeroy Representative Mary Dye is the ranking Republican on the committee.

DYE: “We know the big picture here is to end every job tied to fossil fuels. This bill goes way too far when it signals it wants a whole industry and its workers to become obsolete. We should be trying to make jobs, not take jobs”

SATTGAST: Centralia Representative Peter Abbarno said the bill is terrible for consumers, small business owners, major utilities, builders, Realtors, and those in the trades industry.

ABBARNO: “This legislation proposes the worst kind of trifecta – a bill that takes away choice from consumers, takes away money, takes away jobs. And I'm opposed for those three reasons.”

SATTGAST: Walla Walla Representative Mark Klicker is the assistant ranking Republican on the committee.

KLICKER: “This bill is significant and impactful. Unfortunately, it's significant and impactful on the people who are going to lose their jobs.”

SATTGAST: Kennewick Representative Matt Boehnke (BEN' KEE) said if the bill becomes law, nearly one million natural gas customers in Washington would see a 700-hundred dollar increase in their annual energy bill. And Dryden Representative Keith Goehner warned the increased demand for electricity, if natural gas is banned, could create instability across the regional grid.

The committee passed the measure on a party-line vote, 8 to 5, with all Republicans voting no.

John Sattgast, the state Capitol


Washington State House Republican Communications
Broadcast Coordinator: 360.786.7257