By David Burger of Bend
I am one of the thousands of union workers who rely on natural gas not only to cook or heat my home, but also for my livelihood.
The natural gas industry employs nearly 2 million Americans. And it’s not just those of us laying the pipes or installing hookups in homes and businesses. It’s also steelworkers who melt glass to recycle beer bottles or roll out toilet paper. And it’s heating contractors replacing boilers to high-efficiency natural gas systems. Many professions – and products – need natural gas because it’s reliable, affordable, efficient and clean.
Oregon utilities are working to bring renewable natural gas and hydrogen into our energy mix and deliver it through existing infrastructure. Renewable natural gas is made by capturing organic methane gas from materials like wood, food and other waste that would otherwise release into the atmosphere and converts it to clean energy. And renewable hydrogen converts excess wind and solar electricity to gas. And because both are delivered through pipelines, they provide another way of delivering energy even when weather brings down the electric grid.
Bans on natural gas not only increase prices for customers but also stifle incentives for utilities to invest in these clean fuel innovations that can utilize existing infrastructure, infrastructure I’m proud to have helped build. But politicians are sadly trying to tear that down. As a customer, I know utilities like Cascade Natural Gas are committed to continuous improvement and decarbonization.
This letter was originally published in the Bend Bulletin.