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Fracked gas from DC’s Canadian-owned gas utility accounts for about a quarter of the District’s greenhouse gas emissions. The gas we burn in our homes is methane, and when released directly into the atmosphere, methane is more than 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. When burned, methane emits carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. To meet the District's climate commitments, we must end the combustion of fracked gas to heat buildings and instead move to highly efficient clean energy heat pumps.
Fracked gas isn’t just a climate threat, it’s also a public health threat. Gas appliances fill our homes with some of the same pollutants as car exhaust – carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, and even formaldehyde. Burning fracked gas in our homes is associated with aggravated respiratory symptoms and higher susceptibility to lung infections. In children, exposure to gas burning appliances results in a 42% increased risk of developing asthma symptoms as well as IQ and learning deficits. Asthma rates in children living in homes with gas stoves are comparable to children living with cigarette smokers. Indoor air pollution from gas-burning appliances is responsible for 12% of all childhood asthma cases.
Constructing new buildings that use zero fossil fuels and rely only on renewable energy is achievable with today’s technology, saves money, and reduces the emissions that harm our climate and our health. Retrofitting existing buildings from fossil fuels to clean energy is more difficult, but when paired with energy efficiency measures and rooftop solar, it can dramatically reduce utility bills.
To meet our climate commitments and to protect public health, we must ensure that all newly constructed buildings rely on renewable energy, not dirty fuels, and we must initiate a program to retrofit homes of low and moderate and income households off fossil fuels, at no cost to those households.
We, the undersigned District residents, request that the DC Council pass legislation to begin equitable electrification of low and moderate income households to ensure that those households see the health, monetary and environmental benefits of the clean energy transition.