City officials consider enacting Bakersfield Climate Action Plan

Photo by: 23ABC

BAKERSFIELD. CALIF. (KERO) — Officials in the City of Bakersfield are looking at a Climate Action Plan, and local organizations and residents are making their voices heard. The proposed Climate Action Plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare the city for the effects of climate change.

One of the changes the plan includes is decarbonizing buildings. This means making a transition from gas to electric energy. This idea is opposed by Kern Citizens for Energy, an organization that represents oil industry employees in Kern County. Tracy Leach, a spokesperson for the organization explains.

“Kern Citizens for Energy is part of a large coalition that wants the CAP, or Climate Action Plan, scrapped. We want the city to do away with this. It is not required by the state. We would prefer that they only pursue the mandated elements of a climate action plan and do that within their general plan planning process,” said Leach.

Leach went on to say she believes the plan puts too many restrictions on the use of natural gas. The Climate Action Plan suggests the adoption of a reach code for the 2026 California Building Energy Efficiency Standards Code that would prohibit new developments from the installation of national gas infrastructure. The plan also calls for a retrofitting of 15 percent of existing residential and commercial buildings to all-electric by 2045.

Joe Conroy with the City of Bakersfield clarifies that the plan does not call for a ban on natural gas and does encourage the use of renewable gas, which uses the same infrastructure as natural gas when electrification of a building is not feasible.

“We’re not going to already-established or existing homes and saying ‘You have to get rid of these appliances.’ It’s just moving forward, 2023 and beyond, those housing developments won’t be able to put those in when they are building those houses,” said Conroy.

The proposed Climate Action Plan can be found on the city’s website. The City of Bakersfield welcomes community feedback about the plan. The 30-day public review period for this proposal expires on August 31, 2023.

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Kern Citizens for Energy