by KATE STONE at nynorthwest.com
State lawmakers took another step forward Tuesday on banning natural gas in Washington.
House Bill 1589, which failed to clear the legislature last year, is now getting a second look, with a revised version passing the House Tuesday by a 52-45 vote.
The bill would ban any gas company that serves more than 500,000 customers — specifically, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) — from connecting new natural gas lines to new residential or commercial buildings — with limited exemptions for certain manufacturing, medical care, correctional, and military facilities. PSE would also no longer be required to provide natural gas service to existing customers, which state law currently mandates.
The bill says the ban applies to any new construction after June 30th, 2023. If approved, it would take effect immediately, due to an emergency clause included in the measure.