Louisiana follows Oklahoma in stopping cities from banning natural gas hookups


The Louisiana legislature is taking a cue from Oklahoma by approving legislation to stop cities and towns from banning natural gas connections in favor of more climate-friendly electric hookups.

The Louisiana House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that would ban local governments from prohibiting utility connections, including natural gas hookups.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 3619 on May 19 and it takes effect in November. The measure was authored by Reps.  O’Donnell, Luttrell and Martinez of the House
and Sen. Allen of the Senate.

A similar bill was approved in Tennessee and Arizona earlier in the year, according to Bloomberg Law.

“What we are trying to do is send a market signal to the rest of the country to say that Louisiana is open for business when it comes to natural gas,” said Tyler Gray, Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association president and general counsel, during a hearing last week.

The industry has been delivering essential energy for decades, including during the corornavirus pandemic, Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the American Gas Association, said in a statement about the state laws.

“It is short-sighted that any government would consider denying these benefits to their constituents,” she said.

The electric-versus-natural gas debated heated up last year when Berkeley, Calif., became the first city to ban natural gas infrastructure in new buildings, starting in 2020. The hope was to reduce reliance on fossil fuels while meeting climate goals. Since then, similar bills have won approval from municipalities in California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, Ohio, and New York.

Source: Bloomberg Law