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Electrification ordinance delayed by numerous questions from Eugene City Councilors

City of Eugene website
The Eugene City Council met in a hybrid format Wednesday, April 3, 2022 for their work session on building electrification. Most councilors and staff were in person, others joined by video.

Eugene City Councilors say they need more information before they can move forward on a proposal to require all new building construction use electricity and not natural gas.

At a work session Wednesday, some councilors spoke of how reducing fossil fuel–based energy sources now,can be a legacy for future generations. Jennifer Yeh responded to concerns over the cost of the transition by pointing out the cost of inaction as climate change becomes more and more of a crisis.

“And we can kick this can down the road to the next generation or we can build them a solid foundation to continue the work we will do to make a healthier and safer and more resilient community,” she said.

The city may start with a requirement that only new residential construction be electric only. But there were numerous questions about the strength of the grid, equitability, cost, and more.

Mayor Lucy Vinis said it’s better to take time to come up with a solid policy.

“We can and should be a model for how to do this,” she said. “And so its important that we do it well because we want other cities to follow in our footsteps.”

Vinis said what the city of Eugene does can help power what happens at the state level.

City staff will bring answers to councilor questions to a future work session before July 31st.

Copyright 2022 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.