Mayor Daniel Biss and several council members are proposing that Evanston ban gas hookups for new homes, apartments and commercial structures.

They claim the move is necessary to meet the city’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan goals.

The City Council’s Referrals Committee has directed the Environment Board to evaluate the concept and prepare a recommendation for City Council action by the end of March.

In making the referral, Biss noted that he has not yet discussed the idea with developers or other real estate interests.

Alds. Krissie Harris (2nd), Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th), Eleanor Revelle (7th) and Devon Reid (8th) joined the mayor in backing the referral.

The issue of gas stoves flared into national attention last week when Richard Trumpka Jr., a member of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, suggested the federal government might ban gas stoves as a health hazard — prompting outraged responses from fans of the appliances.

Berkeley, California, became the first U.S. city to ban natural gas hookups in new buildings in July 2019, a measure that was challenged by the California Restaurant Association, in a case that is still awaiting a ruling from a federal appeals court.

In the meantime dozens of other communities, including New York City have enacted similar bans, while more than 20 states have adopted measures prohibiting their municipalities from enacting such restrictions.

While much of the recent controversy has involved gas versus electric ranges, the greater environmental impact of the hookup ban would be to force a shift from gas furnaces to electric heat pumps or other solutions for heating new buildings.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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30 Comments

  1. Just do it as others have already done. Don’t waste time with the Environment Board, developers and real estate interests. Electricity costs less and can come from renewable sources. Only a few old fossils like fossil fuels.

    1. Really? Illinois generates 24% of it’s energy from burning coal, 54% of its energy from nuclear, 12% natural gas, .03 from solar, maybe 9% from wind. Coal use is expected to actually increase if we cut gas usage. Evanston claims progress but practices a shell game. That “progress” is essentially founded on the purchase of renewable energy credits from non Illinois 3rd party providers like wind farms in North & South Dakota. Credits, not actual power. Evanston hasn’t actually reduced much of anything nor will they. Unless we back the production of more nuclear energy further demands on electric use by banning natural gas requires increased burning of coal in Illinois. And some green activist also want to deactivate nuclear. Good thing Illinois does have very large deposits of coal to burn.

  2. I’m sorry, if they’re concerned about environmental issues, then why are they so concerned about packing residents into Evanston? More cars idling, traffic, waste, and individual air conditioning units have huge environmental negative impacts. This is RIDICULOUS! Does Evanston want to make an environmental positive impact? Ban styrofoam, make recycling mandatory, get rid of gas lawn mowers. Encourage people to plant gardens. Give them an incentive to be more green conscious.

  3. LOL. Illinois generates most of it’s electricity from nuclear energy and coal! Most of the rest from natural gas! Ask Bliss or the council members if they support nuclear power plants! Not bloody likely. Or coal power plants! C’mon man. Just more empty, uninformed, naïve virtue signaling. We’re better than that.

  4. Does it alarm anyone else that the city/school board seem to immediately jump on every “extremely online issue of the day” before it’s clear what the actual scope of the issue is, but can’t seem to do the basics of governance/educating our kids?

  5. Please do, it’s toxic to live with and the only resistance is a bunch of cry baby boomers who are too insecure to change. cOmMuNiStS 🙄

    1. Actually not so, the main problem is most available appliances are light years behind European models in terms of style, and design. Has been an issue for a long time.

  6. Why don’t “our betters” simply raze the Harley Clarke Mansion and put a wind farm on that property? That would surely make the Greenies happy, eh…???

    Respectfully,
    Gregory Morrow – Evanston 4th Ward resident

  7. With all the problems in our city this is what we spend our time on, bags and gas hook ups. Wonder if people know 40% of our electricity comes from coal and natural gas, and then over 50% from nuclear. If they really want to help the environment, ban Amazon deliveries.

  8. Yowsa, some harsh comments here.

    Appears several of you think this is a straightforward decision. However, It is another example of your Mayor Biss, waving the flag of climate change correctness without any intelligence about the implications of this proposal.

    DICK, have fun trying to find a flame broiled meal in Evanston (appears you don’t cook as electrical stoves are a big negative for those of us that do). This is just another nail in our City’s coffin.

    And to think that we put all of our eggs in the electric basket, when this is the most vulnerable infrastructure that the United States has. Think about it. Lights out, stoves out, furnace out, end of life.

    1. Getting rid of gas hookups is too extreme! What are the alternatives Evanston is providing? Will they be providing wind power and solar at a reasonable cost to its residents in place of gas? Electric heat? I lived in an apartment with electric heat and it was so costly. I can just imagine how excited ComEd will be as the gauging will go up even more.
      Evanston needs to worry about its smaller issues first that’s creating issues globally, such as materials like Styrofoam that are being used for take out and restaurants. Start with mandatory recycling and ban materials that are not eco friendly like styrofoam. Work with companies to recycle plastics/bags or hey, far-fetched, but get a recycling plant in Evanston instead of shipping plastics waste to countries like Indonesia! Haha, I know, too costly. Shame, since our earth doesn’t have a price tag.
      Is Evanston looking into the emissions being released into our atmosphere with each newly built micro unit having its own air conditioning unit? Emissions from AC units are more detrimental to our environment than gas. One example is the urban heat island effect.
      Is Evanston studying the effects of overcrowding that’s causing more traffic which means more idling cars and traffic which is (urban heat island) way more harmful than gas hook-ups. Adding more buildings (glass in high rises bad for migrating birds) or concrete that is heat sponge and emissions will increase temperatures. Natural gas is not the enemy. Evanston is making a HUGE mistake if they decide to go this route. Clean up the original mess that Evanston has created first before making a this extreme decision that will hurt all of us.

  9. It’s seems as though Evanston policy is mostly driven by the last thing that was seen on social media. How the hell are you going to make it a requirement that all new restaurants use electric ranges and all new building have to use wildly more expensive electric heating? What do you think they will do in terms of attracting new restaurants and building new homes here in Evanston? Will the adults ever be in charge again in this city?

  10. Okay—-Evanston really is going full blown Babylon Bee—-what a pathetic move copying current national discussion—-needed a good laugh and Evanston’s mayor and city council delivered—-as usual.

  11. No gas hookups? What about people who have or want gas generators to provide power when the (sometimes frequent) power outages occur?
    Further, the electric company’s will LOVE this. Charge whatever they can fool the city and state officials into approving and make tons of money.

  12. Following the gas flame health scare to its logical conclusion, stovetop cooking from whatever source of heat would have to be banned. All manner of toxic and irritating compounds, such as acrolein, are created when foods containing fats are exposed to high temperatures. So lets just ban high temperature cooking altogether.

  13. Another bad idea from city hall. Vote the Mayor and these aldermen out of office in 2025.

    1. Mayor’s doing a good job. However, the majority of the alderman have zero clue what their doing. ZERO forward thinking.

  14. I’d prefer that the COE not take actions that discourage development. That said, I don’t know how much of an impact this prohibition would have on a developer’s decision to go forward with a project in our town.

    I will say that I wish our alders would concentrate on the basics of running our community- keeping the crime rate down, maintaining infrastructure, and encouraging economic growth. Once we’re acing these basic functions, we can start talking about climate action and other aspirational goals.

  15. Oh my God, Evanston how you make it easier to cancel everything.
    Woke is good but runs on low I.Q. every election season .

  16. One issue, how’s going to pay to upgrade the grid to handle high usage now ?, Removing gas ..ok, means more electric power from the grid but wait.. most powrlines are from the 1960 … Yes that will go well over time, maybe invest in the gird and offer cheap alternative so people can choose ?

  17. So, so many problems with this City Council. As many others have pointed out, electric heating and hot water generation is much less efficient and more costly than gas. We would just trade a tiny amount of fossil fuel consumption in lots of homes for massive consumption at the power plant. Like another poster noted, I had so much trouble with the power grid that I had to put in a backup generator and, obviously, it runs on natural gas. The Mayor, who I have less and less confidence in, admits he has not even discussed this with developers and other real estate professionals. These idiots will not rest until they have made this town so unappealing to mainstream families that only the fringe want to live here, and that will pull all our property values down through lower demand. Not a week goes by that Wilmette does not look more and more attractive.

  18. Maybe all the lunatics can move to California and leave the rest of us alone with the crazy money grabbing climate BS

  19. I think we all are just tired of this woke culture being shoved down our throats. Everything the Dems and leftists touch is ruined. Look at the state of our country today. Look at the state of Evanston now.

    Is there anything left in our country that can’t be destroyed by these radicals?

  20. City leadership again latches on to the latest and most extreme childish woke idea: get rid of gas stoves.

    Like boobs on the beach, this brain fart will pass, then a new one will arise.

    When will Biss and crew wake up to the fact that they are administrators of a small city, not leaders of the United Nations? Clean up crime and vagrancy, do something to reverse Evanston’s decline, loss of business, aggressive panhandling,

    How about this for a novel idea: embrace the Evanston vision: “…most livable city…”

  21. If we stop using gas stoves, gas heat, gas automobiles… where is all the electricity going to come from? The current systems that are browning out under both summer and winter loads? Who are they kidding?

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