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Coalition Advocates for Balanced Energy Policies

Says Efforts to Eliminate Natural and Renewable Gas in Favor of Electricity Will Harm the Environment and Economy

LOS ANGELES—To most effectively combat climate change, a newly formed organization of natural and renewable gas users and suppliers today called on the State of California to adopt balanced energy policies that protect energy affordability, reliability, and choice.

Formed to educate Californians about the important roles natural and renewable gas play in improving the environment and providing for a strong economy, Californians for Balanced Energy Solutions (C4BES) is a diverse coalition representing a range of commercial, industrial, and residential interests. Its membership includes commercial and industrial gas users, housing developers, community organizations, schools, agriculture, and labor—all of whom rely on gas energy and seek to continue to rely on gas while still making a difference in the state’s environment.

“To fight climate change we need a balanced energy portfolio of electricity and natural gas and renewable sources: solar, wind, hydro, and gas derived from landfills, waste treatment plants, and agriculture. Calls to eliminate natural and renewable gas and force Californians to rely only on electric energy are well-meaning but misguided,” said C4BES Board of Directors Chair Dr. Matt Rahn, Director of the Environmental Leadership Institute at Cal State University San Marcos and Temecula City Council member. “If successful, the ‘electric- only’ strategy will harm the environment. It will have serious economic consequences because switching to electric power is not technically feasible or cost effective for every use or circumstance.”

“Today, businesses enjoy the ability to choose the energy best suited to a particular need. Relying on a single energy source will jeopardize energy reliability and discourage business investments,” said C4BES Vice Chairman Paul Granillo, CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership.

Added C4BES board member John Hakel, executive director of the Southern California Partnership for Jobs, “Businesses and industry will be forced to raise prices to pay for

costly electricity or leave the state, thereby jeopardizing thousands of jobs. We can fight climate change without endangering California’s workers.”

Hyepin Im, CEO of the non-profit organization Faith and Community Empowerment, noted: “Most households use both gas and electricity. Mandating an all-electric energy may inevitably lead to higher monthly bills, creating unintended burdens on low-income households.”

“Let’s not ban natural and renewable gas usage. Let’s use it to reduce air pollution and fight climate change as part of the overall strategy within California to meet greenhouse gas emissions,” said C4BES Treasurer Gretchen Gutierrez, CEO of the Desert Valleys Builders Association. “For example, a study by Navigant Consulting demonstrated that replacing 20% of natural gas with renewable gas will produce the same emissions reductions as the conversion of all buildings to electric-only power. It makes no sense not to use natural gas and renewable gas when they are the cleanest and most affordable options available to reduce air pollution and fight climate change.”

The nonprofit, 501c4 organization has filed its articles of incorporation with the California Secretary of State’s office so as to engage in advocacy efforts. In addition to getting its message out through its website, www.c4bes.org, the organization intends to undertake an aggressive social media campaign, including online petitions and polls, and advertising in newspapers. C4BES also plans to hold a conference on balanced energy policies later this year.

C4BES has set an ambitious agenda, including potentially supporting legislation. The leadership team is strongly committed to calling attention to the vital part played by natural and renewable gas in California’s energy portfolio.

“We want to reduce emissions and air pollution while maintaining California’s strong economy,” said Rahn. “We believe balanced energy solutions are essential for our environment, our economy, and our daily lives.”