Ban on gas in new buildings comes in the side door
An idea that failed in the Legislature gets adopted by the Building Codes Council
Gov. Jay Inslee and his allies in the Legislature had repeatedly tried and failed to enact bans on the use of natural gas in new large commercial and residential buildings. On Friday, an obscure state agency whose members are appointed by Inslee effectively did it by an alternate means.
You’ve probably never heard of the Washington State Building Code Council, and for good reason. Its charge, periodically updating the exhaustively detailed rules governing how stuff gets built, may be essential1 for your safety and comfort, but it’s also really, really dull. Until it isn’t.
This is the story of how Inslee, via some subtle gamesmanship, stacked the council with enough folks who share his views on climate policy to overcome a political system that had thus far largely stymied him on this issue. You should care about it because it will likely make some forms of housing more expensive. It’s also a substantial win in the War on Gas, the environmental left’s multi-front assault on an energy source that was quite recently viewed as a greener alternative to coal but has recently been rebranded as an existential threat to the planet.2