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Healthy homes for California

Delivery to the California Energy Commission

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What’s At Stake

With extreme drought and overwhelming wildfire cycles already at our door, Californians feel the urgency to protect our future. While we’ve been busy diligently cleaning up our energy grid and our dirty transportation systems, our buildings continue to burn fossil fuels. The very homes and buildings we live and work in are contributing to the climate crisis. The gas we burn in buildings in California emits a tenth of our state’s climate pollution. That’s almost as much as the whole state of Oregon produces in a year — just from our buildings. This isn’t compatible with our climate goals — which is why we need your help to tell California’s leaders to require our new buildings to be all-electric.

Long marketed as a clean or modern fuel, natural gas is actually eroding our chance at a livable future. That’s clear in moments of major disasters, like the San Bruno gas explosion in the Bay Area, or the Aliso Canyon gas leak in LA. But it’s also happening in the ongoing, daily pollution emitted from the appliances in our homes.

Burning gas indoors is making us sick. Children who grow up in a home with a gas stove are 42% more likely to develop asthma symptoms. It’s a dirty secret of the gas industry that burning its product in our homes gives us unhealthy levels of indoor air pollution. The smaller and less ventilated your home is, the worse it gets. It’s even more concerning when you consider how much time many of us are spending in our homes — often with children — during the pandemic.

Despite the power of the gas industry, we are going to win this fight. In the last few years, over 40 cities in California have committed to stopping the use of gas in new construction and going all-electric instead. Now, we want to see California become the first state to embrace all-electric new homes.

The benefits would be immense: cleaner air, healthier homes for children, and meaningful climate action to help build a livable future. There are some good side benefits too: upgraded modern appliances like heat pumps and inductions stoves, cheaper construction costs, and ample clean energy jobs. And if California goes all in on all-electric homes, it will spark a trend in other states, too.

In order to embrace the change we need, California’s leaders need to hear a groundswell of support for all-electric new homes. It’s time to make some noise. Will you join us in urging leaders in California to leave gas in the past and move towards the future?

Preparing a meal on an induction stove
Tom Werner / Getty Images

Preparing a meal on an induction stove. Children who grow up in a home with a gas stove are 42% more likely to develop asthma than those who don’t.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.