Forty environmental, housing, and justice-focused organizations submitted a public letter to the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) outlining key actions the utility can take to lead the transition to clean renewable energy while ensuring affordability and energy equity for their customers.
July 11, 2023: Eugene rescinds electrification ordinance due to legal concerns, commits to revisiting policy in coming months
In response to a widely criticized court ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court that imposed restrictions on local authority to transition new homes to clean energy, the Eugene City Council voted today to rescind a recently-passed ordinance that aimed to phase out the use of gas in new homes. In separate motions, city leaders committed to advancing new climate policies in the coming months – including policies to reduce fossil fuel use in new and existing buildings.
February 6, 2023 the City of Eugene voted five to three tonight to phase out fossil fuels like gas in new homes and buildings, a historic step that will cut climate pollution, improve air quality, and lower utility bills for households. The vote from the City Council delivered a major victory to the dozens of climate, environmental justice, health, housing and racial justice groups who organized for more than two years in favor of the policy.
Oregon’s largest gas utility, NW Natural, has contributed over $948,000 in just 30 days to a campaign attempting to overturn the state’s first policy to phase out fossil fuels in new homes, which passed last month in the city of Eugene. The front group, Eugene Residents for Energy Choice, has used NW Natural’s staggering contribution to bankroll the collection of signatures for a ballot referendum to roll back climate policy in a community deeply committed to the clean energy transition.
Students and community members from across Eugene marched out of school and work converging in downtown Eugene on Friday to protest a first-in-the-nation effort from NW Natural, Oregon’s largest gas utility, to roll back a local climate policy to phase out fossil fuels in new homes.
Three Eugene residents, David De La Torre, Aya Cockram, and Timothy Morris, have filed today to appeal the language that will appear on an upcoming ballot if NW Natural succeeds in gathering the required signatures to send a recently passed electrification ordinance to voters.
December 2, 2022: Students Lead Push to Electrify Campus as UO Becomes Eugene’s Largest Climate Polluter
over 20 organizations submitted a letter to the University of Oregon's (UO) Interim President and Board of Trustees calling on the university to transition its buildings off of fossil fuels. The letter calls for the replacement of the university's gas boilers, which are the single largest source of carbon pollution in Eugene, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and make up 72 percent of the university’s total GHG emissions.
November 2, 2022: NW Natural Withdraws Application for Controversial Hydrogen Blending Experiment following Community Uproar
Citing community concerns, NW Natural has withdrawn its application to build an experimental hydrogen blending project in West Eugene. The withdrawal comes after a coalition of environmental and social justice organizations intervened to block the project due to unanswered health and safety questions, and opposition to the $10 million price tag, which would have been borne by ratepayers for an experimental approach that independent studies show is not a viable decarbonization strategy.
August 17, 2022: Oregon Lawmakers, Organizations Call for Department of Justice to Investigate NW Natural for False Advertising
Six Oregon elected officials and more than 30 organizations submitted a petition calling on the Oregon Department of Justice to investigate the state’s largest methane gas utility, NW Natural, for deceptive advertising practices, including falsely promoting gas as a climate-friendly solution, misleading the public regarding the company’s energy investments, and seeking to influence school children to think positively about methane gas.
April 14, 2022: Eugene City Council Votes Unanimously to Further Explore New Building Electrification Policy
Yesterday, the Eugene City Council voted unanimously to move forward conversations regarding their efforts to regulate methane “natural” gas in the city in what would be a first-in-the-state ordinance. A clear majority of council members expressed support for an ordinance to electrify all new construction in the city with limited exemptions, creating a precedent for cities across the state.
In a major step toward a clean energy future, the Eugene City Council voted to move forward with a suite of measures advancing the transition off of gas in homes and buildings. The motions include one directing staff to draft ordinance language to mandate that all new homes be constructed 100% electric by June 1, 2023; a second advancing conversations to transition new commercial and industrial construction to require all electric; and a third directing the City Manager to formalize Eugene’s goal of electrifying all existing residential and commercial buildings by 2035.
February 9, 2021: City of Eugene Hits Brakes on NW Natural Contract Renewal, Citing Climate Goals
After three months of public pressure and countless hours of public testimony about the climate and health impacts of fracked gas, the City’s franchise negotiations with NW Natural last night hit an impasse. Members of the Fossil Free Eugene campaign hailed this new development as a victory, as the franchise agreement being discussed was set to lock the city into a ten-year contract