Green New Deal? Outrageous proposed bill would make it illegal to heat new, renovated homes with oil, gas


The following editorial is written by a contributing writer to Law Enforcement Today.

HARTFORD, CT- Leftists simply do not get it. A proposed bill making its way through the Connecticut legislature, SB-292, would have seen the state ban the use of fossil fuels for heating in new residential construction or when “major alterations” of residential buildings is undertaken.

The bill was introduced by State Sen. Rick Lopes (D-New Britain). Opposition to the bill was led by the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association (CEMA). The proposed bill would amend Sec. 29-256a of the Connecticut General Statutes.

Under subsection (C) of the proposed amendment, it reads:

The State Building Inspector and the Codes and Standards Committee shall, in the adoption of the  2024 International Energy Conservation Code and subsequent versions, prohibit the use of any electric resistance or fossil fuel combustion system as the primary source of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning or water heating in new residential construction or in major alterations of residential buildings. [emphasis added]

Of course as always, there is also a provision in the proposed amendment which would add more to the state bureaucracy, in this case to:

“…develop a program for training and education of engineers, builders, contractors, or superintendents of construction doing business in this state on the mechanics and application of thermal space and water heating systems other than electric resistance or fossil fuel combustion systems, including, but not limited to, air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, solar thermal water or space heating systems or on-demand electric water heaters.”

According to an email obtained by Law Enforcement Today, three Connecticut state representatives—Sens. Anwar (D-South Windsor), Cicarella (R-North Haven) and Rep. Poletta (R-Watertown) took up the case of CEMA and lobbied Lopes to amend the bill.

In addition, two CEMA members also spoke with Lopes and lobbied for the bill to be scuttled. Lopes had promised CEMA he would work with them if he in fact decided to bring up the vote, which he did not do. It was then attempts were made by CEMA and some legislators to “blow up” the bill.

It was ultimately agreed to by Lopes that (for now) he would remove language from the bill about renovations and include language which would be a bit more liberal in the type of equipment permitted, including those which use renewable fuel sources such as biodiesel, renewable propane, renewable diesel, etc. He also hinted that the bill might change to an incentive based approach rather than a mandate.

Of course much of the angst over this bill could have been avoided in the first place had Lopes and his cronies decided to engage with the experts such as CEMA in order to get their input if such a radical proposal would even be workable in a state such as Connecticut which is subject to extremely cold winters.

Lopes has a rather storied history from his days as an alderman in the city of New Britain. In 2004, Lopes was snagged registering three vehicles in another town, ostensibly to avoid paying higher property taxes in New Britain. That prompted an ethics complaint against Lopes, who mailed over 2,000 letters of apology to his constituents, the Hartford Courant  reported at the time.

Under that ethics complaint, the city’s ethics commission ruled Lopes should be censured for registering his business vehicles between 1999 to 2003 in the city of West Hartford, Connecticut, where he runs a cleaning business and where the property tax rate was less than New Britain’s. One of those vehicles was used primarily for personal use. Lopes admitted he had “erred” and reimbursed the city $3,690 in taxes.

New Britain’s city council accepted Lopes’ mea culpa and decided against formally censuring him for the incident.

Green New Deal? Outrageous proposed bill would make it illegal to heat new, renovated homes with oil, gas

The proposal to force Connecticut builders to heat homes with only electric drew a number of letters of written testimony on the bill, a majority in opposition.

For example, on e such letter was written by Paula Ryan who operates Ryan Oil in Hamden, CT along with her son and have been in business for over 33 years.

She noted the cost of a whole home electric heat pump system would cost between $20,000 and $40,000 compared to upgrading an existing heat source, whether it was oil, propane or natural gas, sources which would cost much less, in the area of between $7,000-$12,000.

She also noted that typical heat pumps only last between 15 to 20 years, while a traditional boiler can last 30 years or more. She also noted that maintenance on a whole home heat pump can take an entire day, which would increase the costs of routine maintenance by two to five times the cost of traditional fossil fuel systems.

Ryan also said that heat pump systems require a secondary heat source, because heat pumps do not work adequately when temperatures plunge (which they often do in New England).

Another factor, she said is the fact that you still need fossil fuels to run power generating stations.

She also spoke of the environmental concerns of heat pumps, which she said uses R-410A, a refrigerant mixture that is under a much higher pressure than R-22, its predecessor.

She told the legislature that R-410A “has a global warming potential almost 2,000 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.”

Another testimony came from ReBuilt homes in Plantsville, CT. Michael Riccio of that company reminded legislators that the cost of replacing an already working heating system with a heat pump system “will be unbearable in most instances when coupled with other renovation costs.”

He opined that this bill would result in a number of homes that were simply “un-renovated.” He called the bill “reactive governing,” saying it was a reaction “to the ‘catch word of the day’—going green.”

The Propane Gas Association of New England wrote that the way heat pumps work, they “need the most energy from the grid during the months when the grid is most stressed,” which causes electricity plants to switch from using natural gas to diesel or heating oil.

“By installing more heat pumps, Connecticut will be increasing our greenhouse gas emissions and costing consumers more money to hear their homes, because even high-performance heat pumps have not been proven to be efficient below 40 degrees.”

Connecticut REALTORS© oppose the bill, writing:

CTR strongly opposes as this legislation is ahead of the technology; and Connecticut’s infrastructure is not ready for this. Some of these systems are not presently effective for heating in colder temperatures. The costs for these systems could put new construction completely out of reach for many potential homeowners…Connecticut cannot address housing affordability with proposals like this.

Finally, United Illuminating, a utility company serving Southern Connecticut noted that “an abrupt shift from natural gas heat to electric heat pumps combined with rapid transportation electrification may realize unforeseen electric grid vulnerability,” and note that “natural gas provides the cleanest transition alternative as we enhance our electric infrastructure to accommodate an electrified future.”

The company then noted the issues which took place in Texas last year, when a “lack of energy diversity” in that state had “devastating effects.”

One needs to question the intelligence of politicians who seek to force electric cars and now electric heat down our throats at a time when most experts say our electric grid is vastly insufficient for one, and extremely vulnerable to a cyberattack second.

So what are the options you might ask? Fortunately, energy companies are working on the use of biofuels in order to lower our dependence on fossil fuels which may create environmental problems. None of this matters to the “green” lobby, who are pushing toward electrification of our country.

There is also the issue of powering the electric grid. As notes, electricity isn’t as clean as we are told, because it has to come from somewhere and face it…wind and solar simply are not reliable sources of electrical generation.

  • GHG-emitting fossil fuels are the largest sources of energy for electric generation
  • 91% of all coal burned in the United States goes to the power the electric grid
  • 35% of US electricity is sourced from natural gas, which is primarily comprised of methane
  • If methane is released into the atmosphere before being used, it is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide over short periods of time and 30 times more potent over the long term

There are also other issues:

  • Full electrification of the heating sector would increase the demand that the current grid cannot handle
  • Meeting this increased demand with 100% renewable energy has been deemed unrealistic by leading experts, among them the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the International Energy Agency

We spoke with Catherine Erasmus, owner of Taylor Energy in East Windsor, CT. She told us she believes all of this is nothing more than a power play to take away the power of choice.

“There is a way we can live in a world with less carbon, while at the same time supporting renewable bioheat, renewable propane and supporting the electric grid at the same time. But doing it this way, trying to force this overnight, is the wrong approach. Knee jerk approaches by government bureaucrats are never the right way to go.”

Catherine also said that any such legislation would kill her business, which she has spent years developing.

“A law such as this would kill my business. Removing replacement boilers from our list of services would be devastating. And eventually, phasing out fuel oil and propane completely? I cannot even imagine the devastating effect this will have on us and our competitors.” 

The United States has come a long way over the past decade or so in reducing our “carbon footprint.” But as we have been told by the experts, our electric grid—at a time when electric cars are being shoved down our throats and now electric heat being also shoved down our throats—simply does not have the capacity. It is also, we might remind you, very susceptible to cyber attacks.

Hopefully cooler heads prevail in Connecticut and the powers that be in Hartford realize this scheme is poorly timed and ill-conceived.

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