Thanks to mothers and others, San Jose just became the largest U.S. city to ban “natural” gas infrastructure in new construction, firmly securing its role as one of the nation’s most climate-smart cities! With an outpouring of public support, the San Jose City Council members unanimously approved a ban on the use of “natural” (fracked methane) gas infrastructure in several types of new construction: single-family homes, low-rise multi-family buildings (three stories or less), detached accessory dwelling units, and municipal buildings—starting in January, 2020.
During Public Comments, Mothers Out Front South Bay members sat (where else?) up front!
This new ban goes even beyond the strong reach code the Council passed last month, not just incentivizing, but now ensuring, that most new construction in San Jose will be powered with electricity, not dirty “methane” gas, a potent climate-destabilizing pollutant and indoor air contaminant that is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the region. And thanks to San Jose’s Community Choice Energy program, which Mothers Out Front helped to establish, 80-100% of the electricity powering these new buildings will be renewable energy from San Jose Clean Energy!
Our elected leaders and city staff were able to take this bold step due to the passionate advocacy and terrific collaboration between several different community organizations, many united in the Campaign for Fossil-Free Buildings in Silicon Valley. Special thanks to Menlo Spark, Climate Reality Santa Clara County, and Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter—and to our amazing Mothers Out Front South Bay members who wrote 17 of the 22 letters from the public, turned out in force for the vote, and gave five stirring testimonies during the City Council Meeting. A big shout-out as well to the youth leaders of Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action, Sunrise and Silicon Valley Youth Climate Strike: it’s the youth who are our inspiration for this work!
Hoai-An Truong and DeAnna Pursai give stirring public testimony, along with 3 other Mothers Out Front members
Bravo and thanks to Councilmembers Jones, Jimenez, Peralez, Diep, Carrasco, Davis, Arenas, Esparza, Foley and Khamis and Mayor Liccardo for their climate leadership and willingness to listen. Bravo and thanks to City staff, including Kerrie Romanow, Rosalynn Hughey, Ken Davies, Julie Benabente, Elena Olmedo, and many others, for their tireless work behind the scenes to address questions and concerns and develop the language of today’s Ordinance and Resolution.
We are now looking forward to January 2020, when the Council will fittingly kick off a new decade by considering requiring electrification for all new wood-frame construction up to seven stories, ensuring that even more new buildings ditch dirty gas. Way to be climate-smart!
Clean-energy and climate justice advocates celebrate after the victory!
Some of the Mothers Out Front members present linger afterwards for a final photo.
Moms and kids made original signs.