Atlanta--HB 150 passed the Georgia State Senate 34 to 15. If signed into law the legislation will compel Georgia’s cities and government agencies to allow gas infrastructure and connections, even in the face of climate change. HB 150 is remarkably similar to over a dozen bills introduced in other states around the country and is part of a national push from the gas industry to ensure continued use of methane gas.
Senator Elena Parent (Atlanta) offered an amendment that would have caused the legislation to sunset after five years “We don’t have fracking or coal mines here in Georgia but we do have solar,” said Senator Parent. “Prohibiting us from embracing new technology and a smarter energy policy makes no sense.” The amendment failed 19 to 31 and the legislation ultimately passed.
Gas is a potent driver of climate change. Many studies have found that the production, transportation and storage of gas result in major leaks of methane to the atmosphere. Methane is the primary component of gas and it traps 86 to 105 times more heat in the atmosphere over 20 years than does the same amount of carbon dioxide. As a result, even small methane leaks during the production, processing, storage and transportation of natural gas negate its low emissions of carbon dioxide during combustion.
“The writing is on the wall for the gas industry--solar and other renewables are more affordable than ever, buildings are becoming more efficient and all that means the gas industry is eager to preserve its role in the energy landscape through continued investment in new gas infrastructure,” explained Jennette Gayer, director of Environment Georgia which opposed the legislation.
Five Georgia cities have commitments to 100% clean and renewable energy but no cities or other government agencies have acted to limit gas infrastructure.
"Georgia is a leader in solar generation and clean energy jobs, yet HB 150 is a blatant attempt by the fossil fuel industry to use crony capitalism to protect their market share,” said Athens Mayor, Kelly Girtz. “If HB 150 becomes law, Athens will continue to move towards a fossil fuel free future but this bill will help ensure we continue to export hundreds of millions of dollars out of the state of Georgia for polluting methane gas for years to come.”
Opponents of HB 150 pledged to continue to make the case against the bill and urge Gov. Kemp to veto the legislation once the legislation is passed to his desk.