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The Eugene Gas Ban: The Hottest Issue in Town

 The blue flame of ignited gas.

This week on Oregon On The Record, we discussed one of the most controversial issues in our community: the proposed ban of gas hookups in new construction throughout the city of Eugene.

What started as a city ordinance, has moved to a referendum that will be decided by voters in the upcoming November election. And what started as a fairly straightforward municipal action has ballooned into a huge debate between those who champion cleaner air and more environmentally friendly efforts and those who are fighting for the freedom to burn fossil fuels.

On one side are environmentalists, on the other are pro-business advocates and natural gas industry interests which are pouring millions of dollars into the fight.

We heard from key voices in this debate including Eugen Mayor Lucy Vinis, environmental advocates Lisa Arkin and Mason Leavitt from Beyond Toxics, Chris Lehman, KLCC’s news director and University of Oregon’s Office of Sustainability Director, Steve Mital.

And while the coalition fighting to defeat the referendum didn’t appear on the show, we heard from many citizens who voiced their opinion about this issue that has placed Eugene in the national spotlight

Below is a snapshot of the voicemails we received – with the majority supporting the proposed ban, and a few who will vote against it.


  • I completely support the gas ban ordinance
  • We know natural gas contributes to global warming and we know polluters have tried to hide that fact from us
  • It’s such a sensible thing to do to stop building new gas infrastructure
  • We must do all we can to lower our carbon footprint so we have a sustainable future
  • I chose to move back to Eugene to start a family because this community has always prioritized environmental issues
  • I have a degree in molecular biology.  Burning natural gas gives off methane, benzine and nitrogen dioxide.  These are major cause of asthma and are major carcinogens.
  • I’m proud that Oregon has a moratorium on obtaining natural gas through fracking, so it would be hypocritical of us to use natural gas where other states suffer from fracking
  • It’s ridiculous that our city is taking away our own decisions. If someone wants to use gas, they should be able to
Michael Dunne is the host of KLCC's Oregon Rainmakers podcast. Do you have a suggestion for an Oregon Rainmaker's guest or topic? Email Michael at mdunne@klcc.org.