California’s new law to protect the public from dangerous gasses emitted by hydraulic machinery is officially called the Protecting California’s Air and Water Resources Act. The title pretty much says it all. This legislation was passed in response to a recent court case involving the San Francisco Candlemakers Association, which was accused of emitting deadly gasses into the atmosphere. The allegations were that they were flaring natural gas onto the unsuspecting public through their candle-making equipment. San Francisco sued them and won, but the court decided that the law was needed to ensure that those making and using industrial machinery knew the danger they were creating.
Proponents of the law say that there are many hazards out there involving natural gases. This includes the threat of explosion, flammable vapors, fumes, dust, or in some cases people getting electrocuted. They also argue that these types of dangers are only going to increase in the coming years due to climate change. Another reason why San Francisco banned the use of these types of gasses is that they smell. In addition, they are very dangerous to animals and human beings alike.
Opponents of the law have one major concern: It could make it legal for anyone to tap into underdeveloped oil and gas fields throughout California, which means that they can freely emit whatever pollutants they want. They also say that this could allow natural gas to be sent out into the atmosphere without any safeguards in place. Additionally, they fear that the new law could open the door for more pollution to come our way. San Francisco will begin to enforce the new ban on natural gas hookups immediately.
San Francisco’s new natural gas ordinance covers a broad range of industries. It will not only apply to new natural gas plant operations but also to the facilities themselves. Additionally, it will not only apply to those companies already building and operating on their own land. Rather, it applies to all commercial and residential customers within the city limits.
For now, while the new ordinance doesn’t apply directly to those companies currently generating or distributing natural gas, it is expected that some regulations could soon be passed that will do so. Right now, however, those companies still must acquire separate licenses from the San Francisco Department of Environmental Quality. They are also not required to disclose exactly what their emissions are or the quantity.
Already, though, some San Francisco businesses and homeowners have begun to take advantage of the new natural gas ordinance. They have bought bulk natural gas from producers at below market value, used it to run their own heating and cooling systems, and even sold some back to the gas company. Those who generate electricity using wind or solar power can benefit as well. San Francisco has a large solar and wind power industry already in place, so this could mean even more cash in people’s pockets.
San Francisco has also banned new applications for all new wells, which account for about two-thirds of the city’s water supply. This means that any new wells will have to be situated on existing property owned by the homeowners, which could make the approval process much more difficult. Even if you are allowed to situate your new well on your property, you must first get an environmental impact certificate from the city.
The new ordinance does not affect existing wells, so they will continue to operate. But when it comes to generating electricity, the only things that are forbidden now are new natural-gas line hookups. Additionally, homeowners are now prohibited from allowing current gas lines to be attached to their homes. If you’ve got an existing gas line running through your yard, you’re on very good legal ground. So as long as nothing in your yard creates an obstruction, and you also follow the rules of the San Francisco Gas Control Commission, you shouldn’t have any problems.