SD Gas Ban V. Union Laborers

Written by: Amanda Angulo

The Democrats are having a hard time finding agreement amongst one another. For months, the environmentalist and climate change activists have been head to head with the union-represented gas workers.

Throughout California, cities are seeking to leave behind gas and begin to require buildings to run purely on electricity, even for heating and cooking. In return, this has caused gas workers in the union to worry that they will be left jobless due to more electricians coming in than gas workers.

“It’s not just a pipeline, it’s a lifeline,” said Joe Cruz, the executive director of the California State Council of Laborers, representing the workers who do heavy digging for pipe laying. “(Natural gas) creates many good-paying jobs. The ban on natural gas and decarbonization efforts in California will have a major impact on laborers across the state, including San Diego if that moves forward.”

San Diego’s Sustainability and Mobility Department is aware that emissions have to be cut down in some way, shape, or form due to 20% of the city’s emissions coming from homes and businesses in 2019.

Therefore, San Diego could potentially decide to require new buildings to be equipped to power everything with electricity, including air conditioning, stoves, water heaters, and heating. However, new construction in this city is slow and as a result, accounts for 1% of the annual building stock.

Legislators are going about this in a very powerful way. There is no way they are willing to sacrifice this labor to solve the climate change issue and not think of the repercussions. Not only will they be putting several employees out of work, but it will also add to their unemployment crisis in the state and hurt the labor economy.

“We want (policymakers) to put online other affordable, safe, and convenient forms of energy that everyday people will get confidence in using before they decide to shut down the natural gas industry,” said Cruz.

To further add to Cruz’s statement, the alternative fuels he touches on would be renewable natural gas and hydrogen energy. Inevitably, this will lower the greenhouse gas emission in natural gas and could be a possible solution. The issue is that the technology has not been rolling into the U.S. market fast enough. SDG&E has recently announced that they will try to ramp up this technology to offset the emissions.


Image from: Megan Wood