AP NEWS

Arizona legislation would block natural gas bans

February 13, 2020 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona cities and counties would not be allowed to ban new natural gas hookups under legislation moving through the Arizona Legislature, an effort to prevent the spread here of gas bans being adopted by California cities to help combat climate change.

The measure cleared the House in a 35-25 vote on Wednesday, and similar legislation is advancing in the Senate. All Republicans were joined by a handful of Democrats in support.

The bill’s supporters say homeowners should be able to decide for themselves what kind of energy they want to use in their homes. They also say restaurants would suffer if they couldn’t cook on gas stoves.

“It’s ridiculous that any government will get down to that level that they ’d tell someone how they can heat their house,” said Rep. Bob Thorpe, a Republican from Flagstaff.

Democrats say the state shouldn’t tie the hands of cities and counties to do what they think is best. Rep. Kirsten Engel, a Tucson Democrat, said no gas bans have been proposed in Arizona.

“Our utilities are very localized, and I think this is a matter we should leave to our local governments,” Engel said.

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This story corrects the first name of Rep. Kirsten Engel.