BAAQMD Decision - Air District Bans Gas Water and Heating Appliances

On Wednesday, March 15th, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) voted to pass regulation on phasing out gas water and space heating appliances by 2027 and 2029 respectively. These appliances release NOx (nitrogen oxides) which contribute to particulate matter and greatly affect air quality. The Local Clean Energy Alliance, along with several other community based organizations, has been active in the pre-implementation working group held by Emerald Cities Collaborative in order to advocate for equitable implementation of this rule. There are still several active concerns!

While hopeful that this rule could lead to electrification, LCEA continues to highlight concerns regarding equitable implementation. These concerns include:

  • The increased load of electric appliances needs to be served by local clean energy sources that benefit the community. Without this stipulation and a clear plan to increase local generation capacity, environmental justice communities near fossil fuel generation, refining or transport sites will feel the burden of this rule. LCEA has advocated for BAAQMD to partner with Bay Area community choice programs to increase local clean energy development, and provide direct subsidies for homeowners to participate in receiving rooftop solar and storage to mitigate energy costs and receive net energy metering savings.
  • The community based organizations in the implementation working group need to have the decision making power to evaluate if the equity concerns of this ruling have been adequately addressed by the time this rule begins to be enforced (2027 or 2029). If this is merely an advisory opinion, significant equity concerns might be overlooked in order to enforce the ruling on time.
  • Finally, LCEA has highlighted that indoor air quality has frequently been proven to be a relatively small contributing factor to the air pollution that affects environmental justice communities. By prioritizing the more easily marketable issue of electrification, BAAQMD is evading the brunt of its responsibility which lies in holding the major polluters of ports, refineries, power plants and other industrial sources accountable.