As crime skyrockets in the Big Apple, New York City Council votes to ban use of natural gas in all new buildings

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NEW YORK CITY-  New York City has decided that it will require new buildings with fewer than seven floors to use heating sources other than oil or natural gas by the end of 2023, the Washington Times reports.

Of course, any such initiative would require alternative sources—presumably electricity—for heating, cooking and water. Buildings seven floors or higher have until July 1, 2027.

This of course appears to equate to symbolism over substance, as the late, great Rush Limbaugh used to say. The New York city council seems not to realize that fossil fuels are required in order to generate said electricity, according to industry insiders.

“The New York City Council just voted to ban gas usage in new buildings, capping off our historic climate forward agenda for New York City,” said council Speaker Corey Johnson on Facebook.

“I’m so proud of our work this term confronting crises with sound action and I look forward to the next Council picking up where we left off.”

 

The outgoing mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio promised to sign the bill before leaving office on Jan. 1.

“NYC just made history by banning gas usage in new buildings! THIS is how you invest in a sustainable future, protect public health, create good paying jobs, and END the era of fossil fuels,” the communist-sympathizing de Blasio said in a Twitter post.

The bill includes some carve outs, including “some exceptions where electrification might not yet be a feasible substitute,” including labs, laundromats, hospitals, crematoriums, and commercial kitchens.

A group pushing for the bill, #GasFreeNYC coalition said the vote was a defeat of the oil and gas industry and would provide a “beacon” for the rest of the US in reducing CO2 emissions.

‘Today New York City takes a historic step in moving off fossil fuels, one that will inspire and motivate the rest of the nation because unlike Las Vegas, what happens in New York doesn’t stay in New York,” Food & Water Watch senior organizer Eric Weltman said a rally. “Next up, New York state and the rest of the world.”

The Federalist noted that New York City is joining other cities, including Berkeley, California which implemented a “green buildings” agenda two years ago, in essence “prioritizing an arbitrary climate change agenda over economic ends.”

Marc Morano, a former senior staffer on the Senate environment and public works committee who publishes the energy blog ClimateDepot told The Federalist that Democrats “are taking a course of action that will only harm everyday citizens.”

He notes that the natural gas ban will “burden New Yorkers” in the aftermath of lockdowns, which have had a negative impact on the city’s economy.

“New York City took ‘a historic step’ in further punishing its citizens by restricting energy, creating shortages, and promoting price spikes,” Morano said. “After two years of COVID-19 lockdowns, it appears the city government has still not reached the limit to how much it is willing to destroy the lives of New Yorkers.”

A number of interests raised alarm bells about the legislation, among them the American Petroleum Institute, Exxon Mobil, the Real Estate Board of New York, the Plumbing Foundation, and a number of trade unions, who questioned the timeline and feasibility of the transition to all-electric buildings, the Washington Times said.

“The bill was rushed through the legislative process without adequate review, analysis, or debate,” a statement from the American Petroleum Institute’s Northeast regional director Michael Giaimo read.

“With additional time and study, we believe the Council will better appreciate the impact of enhanced electrification as well as the importance of a diverse energy mix.”

The International Energy Agency notes that “nearly 40% of global carbon dioxide emissions come from the buildings sector, including construction, heating, and power,” the Times noted. Meanwhile the Associated Press said in New York, that number is closer to 70%.

Despite current pushes to reduce the U.S. carbon footprint, the country has moved significantly toward reducing emissions since 2005 by replacing coal with much cleaner natural gas.

“Hydrogen and renewable natural gas can play a critical role in furthering the city’s emission reduction goals while maintaining affordability and preserving consumer choice, Giaimo said.

The move will also pose a significant risk to the real estate industry warned James Whelan, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, who says the measure will “upend the lives of millions of residents across New York city and significantly increase costs for homeowners and renters.”

Whelan said the “real estate industry is committed to working with policymakers to develop proven policies that meaningfully reduce carbon emissions from the built environment.”

“While we appreciate that the efficient electrification of buildings is an important component of realizing these goals, these policies must be implemented in a way that ensures that New Yorkers have reliable, affordable, carbon-free electricity to heat, cool and power their homes and businesses,” Whelan said.

Despite New York bloviating about moving away from natural gas, Mark J. Perry, professor emeritus at the University of Michigan and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute told The Federalist that switching to electricity from gas will still require a significant amount of natural gas.

In 2021, more than 38 percent of electricity was produced with natural gas, along with 23 percent from coal,” Perry said. “Also, the substitution of natural gas for coal to produce electric power is the main reason that CO2 emissions fell last year to the lowest level since 1983. So, the NYC ban on natural gas won’t reduce CO2 and its main result will be to raise the cost of energy for New Yorkers.”

Joe Borrelli (R) is minority leader on the city council, who voted against the measure. He says the bill will prevent New York from meeting its electricity demands.

“To think about how problematic this bill is, nearly every single building in the city of New York would not be able to comply,” he said. “Natural gas has made our city air quality cleaner than it ever was, and abandoning it when our electrical grid can’t sustain this proposal is going to be a real issue.”

Abandoning the use of natural gas would appear to be a fool’s errand, since in 2019 the state of New York was sixth in natural gas usage for power generation.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration notes a majority of the state’s electricity is powered by natural gas, with the rest being supplied by hydro and nuclear.

Early this month, the New York Independent Systems Operator, which is a group of “engineers, operators, analysts, economists and technologists dedicated to a reliable, sustainable grid,” warned that canceling gas usage could present significant issues, none of them good.

“We have to move carefully with the grid in transition in order to maintain reliability and avoid the kind of problems we’ve seen in other parts of the U.S.,” said Zach Smith, the group’s vice president, while warning that “our reliability margins are thinning to concerning levels beginning in 2023.”

New York’s move is the latest in a series of such moves by liberal cities, with Seattle approving a similar measure in February, banning natural gas in all new commercial buildings, hotels and high rises.

Meanwhile, the Boston suburb of Brookline passed a similar measure two years ago, however it was overruled by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who claimed it appropriated the Commonwealth’s authority. Undeterred, the city passed two similar bills this past June.

Conversely, some red states have taken the opposite approach and have pushed back on moves to limit use of natural gas and other fossil fuels.

For example, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in June signed a bill mandating cities in the Sunshine State continue to use fossil fuels. Similar measures have been passed in the states of Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arizona, and Oklahoma. Several other states currently have similar measures advancing through their state legislatures.

For his part, Morano downplayed the effectiveness of such measures as passed by New York City.

‘The climate won’t notice the city’s ban on natural gas, but New Yorkers sure will,” he said.

Two men arrested and charged with the attempted murder of a Chicago cop after shooting him during a traffic stop

For more on Seattle’s move to eliminate natural gas, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

SEATTLE, WA  It seems that the Seattle mayor has much more on her proverbial plate than worrying about using natural gas to heat buildings in the Northwest city, but she’s moving full steam ahead on plans to prohibit it, anyway.

She plans to ban gas heat in newly constructed businesses in Seattle to reduce greenhouse emissions.

As crime skyrockets in the Big Apple, New York City Council votes to ban use of natural gas in all new buildings
Screenshot courtesy of KING 5 Seattle

The “woke” mayor is perhaps concentrating on issues that may get her re-elected, such as the natural environment.

Never mind the physical environment she has created via police defunding, open drug use in the streets, drug use “safe spaces” and using social workers instead of police to respond to incidents – a policy that got a female social worker stabbed to death last week.

According to a report by the Seattle Times, Mayor Jenny Durkan said this week that Seattle should ban natural gas heat in some new buildings in response to a two-year increase in greenhouse gas emissions. 

The article went on to explain that road transportation accounts for much of the city’s emissions, but emissions in that sector actually dropped slightly from 2016 to 2018, the most-recent period for which the city has comprehensive data.

Emissions from buildings are significant, however, and they increased by more than 8%, driving the overall growth and pulling the city away from its stated goal to become carbon neutral by 2050, according to a new report from the mayor’s office. 

It should be noted that this rise is directly related to the substantial increase in population in the city and the many construction projects underway or recently completed.  It appears that these significant elements were left out of the mayor’s statistics.

That 8% spike, although not based on reality, is partially why Durkan wants to limit natural gas heat in new commercial construction and large apartment buildings, she said in announcing a proposal to update the city’s energy codes for construction projects. The changes would require such buildings to use efficient electric systems instead.

A question for the mayor:  Electrical power generated by gas or diesel generators, or by electrical power plants, both of which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions?

The mayor stated last week during a press conference:

“We are facing a climate disaster.”

She called switching over to electricity for heat “an important step” toward curbing climate change.

Environmentalists are hailing Durkan’s proposal as a move in the right direction, though some are criticizing the plan as too meek. The natural gas industry could object, but the labor movement is on board.  The Durkan administration plans to send a bill to the City Council this month.

It could be said that Mayor Durkan should be repairing current issues and preventing future problems caused by defunding the Seattle Police Department – issues that directly impact the physical, mental and climate environments in the city.

Initially set at an 18% budget cut for SPD, it now appears that the number is a rounded-up 20% of funding that will be cut from the budget – just as residents of Seattle are seeing the highest homicide rate they have ever witnessed.

From the National Review:

“The (Seattle) city council voted last week to slash about $69 million in funding for officer training, salaries and overtime, and get rid of vacant positions in the police department as well as transfer parking officers, mental health workers, and 911 dispatchers out of the department. The goal is to ultimately reinvest in alternatives to police in situations such as mental health crises.”

Seattle has reported 55 murders so far this year.  The troubled city is also suffering a spike in violent crime, with 8,418 burglary incidents, up from to 7,634 last year, according to police.

Durkan insists she is making reforms that lay the groundwork for “systemic and lasting changes to policing.”  She added:

“We have rightly put forward a plan that seeks to ensure SPD has enough officers to meet 911 response and investigative needs throughout the city, while acknowledging and addressing the disproportionate impacts policing has had on communities of color, particularly Black communities.”

It seems that Seattle is facing a slew of problems that the choice between gas or electric heat surely won’t fix.

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LET Unity

Seattle social worker stabbed to death by her client as city pushes to replace police with social workers

December 3, 2020

SEATTLE, WA “Horrifying” and “terrifying” are the words a prosecutor used to describe a deadly attack on a Seattle social worker. 

Just before 11 a.m. on Nov. 23, a public housing resident showed up at an apartment complex in the Belltown neighborhood of the city. 

The Seattle Times reports that security footage shows the man walk into the building carrying grocery bags and then pull out a large knife. Carrying the weapon, he walked into the office of 42-year-old social worker Kristin Benson. 

A co-worker soon heard Benson screaming and she ran to help. 

Court documents say that the woman recognized her co-worker’s attacker. 

She identified the man as 58-year-old Hans Dewey Van-Belkum, and told investigators that he was making “punching/stabbing” motions at the victim as she was face down on the floor. 

The co-worker ran out of the office, later reporting that Van-Belkum chased her toward her office with knife in hand. 

The security footage shows him falling during the chase, getting up and then trying to break down her office door. 

When he could not get in, Van-Belkum reportedly went back to his attack on Benson. 

In the charging documents, a Seattle detective wrote: 

“The defendant then re-entered the victim’s office where he, at a minimum, plunged his knife into the victim’s back.” 

In the same report, King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Dan Raz wrote: 

“The murder of Ms. Benson was horrifying, an unarmed victim, trapped in her own office, unable to escape or fight back against the defendant’s rage and blade. Equally terrifying was the defendant’s willingness to violently attack others who came to Ms. Benson’s assistance.” 

Before fleeing, Van-Belkum also reportedly punched another staff member multiple times and tackled him to the ground before an apartment resident pulled him off. 

The Seattle Times reports by the time police arrived, the accused killer had fled and Benson was dead on her office floor, face down, with a knife sticking out of her back. 

An autopsy showed she’d been stabbed 12 times. The medical examiner later reported that three of the wounds would have been fatal on their own. 

According to the charging documents, police officers spotted the suspect five hours after the crime. He was still wearing the blood-stained clothes captured on the surveillance video. 

They say Van-Belkum had mental health problems and possibly believed that Benson was involved in a plan to have him evicted from the building where he’d lived for eight years. 

Van-Belkum is now facing charges for murder and second-degree assault. 

The crime has rocked the liberal city, where residents and city leaders adamantly pushed to defund the police just months ago. 

Earlier this month, Law Enforcement Today reported on the fallout of that decision: 

“Nearly 120 officers have left the police force since the end of September.  Most were patrol officers, and either retired or transferred to other agencies.  

Seattle now maintains only 1,200 officers that are deployable for contingencies, the lowest number since 1990, when the city’s population was 516,000. Now the population has grown to 783,000, not to mention the explosion of the surrounding suburban areas increasing the number of citizens routinely inside the city limits.” 

Now, with security footage showing the beginnings of the savage attack on a public servant, people are questioning that decision and their own safety in the Pacific Northwest city. 

A woman who goes by “Laura T” on Twitter, posted: 

“So, there was this social worker in Seattle. She tried to de-escalate a homeless person. He stabbed her and killed her. No police, no guns, trained social worker. Seattle mayor and council are proud of their changes, am sure @AOC is too. Kristin Benson mattered too.” 

https://twitter.com/GreenEyedLauraT/status/1334207649164922881

Another Twitter user named Rich Rant tweeted: 

“Prayers to the family of Kristin Benson…A horrible tragedy due to Democratic stupidity of #DefundThePolice! This is WHY it’s bad to leave the police out!” 

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