Alert: Green New Deal Surreptitiously Gaining Ground in U.S. Cities

Brookings, MA Latest Town to Ban Oil and Gas Pipelines

Photo credit: Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

An army of environmentalists at the local level are enacting an alarming amount of greenhouse gas and fossil-free initiatives. It’s way past time to start paying attention.

ontrary to what many Americans may think, the Green New Deal, which called for eliminating carbon emissions in the United States in 10 years, is alive and well on a number of fronts. First, while environmental skeptics have gotten a lot of chuckles over reducing cow farts, passionate progressives have been busy enacting draconian and authoritarian laws and policies in small communities under the all-encompassing banner of environmentalism.

On the national level, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) stated in October 2019 that proponents of her Green New Deal plan have a new strategy to getting her sweeping green bill enacted: “We are breaking it up into parts,” she said. In other words, the new strategy to approve the rejected plan is to reintroduce separate pieces of legislation rather than one large bill.

According to a report in the Washington Examiner, “Ocasio-Cortez said she plans to introduce a bill this month aimed at transitioning the U.S. to carbon-neutral buildings, which she called a ‘Green New Deal housing plan.’” Indeed she has, but more on that later. 

Second, Americans should be alert to the sheer number of cities (many small) that have initiated climate and environmental committees and are quietly passing local laws to ban what they believe to be dangerous fossil fuel-based greenhouse gas emissions that affect global warming, or climate change.

Enter the town of Brookline, Massachusetts that, according to the Boston Globe, just banned all sources of energy other than electric in new developments and extensively remodeled buildings by outlawing the installation of oil and gas pipes at its Town Meeting. Without AOC passing one new “piece” of her legislation, the town of Brookline has effectively approved her newly proposed Green New Deal Public Housing Act.

“In an effort to reduce a major source of emissions contributing to climate change, residents of Brookline voted Wednesday night to ban the installation of oil and gas pipes in new buildings as well as in extensive renovations of existing building —the first such prohibition in Massachusetts.”

The measure was approved by members of Brookline’s Town Meeting and will require homeowners and developers to install heat, hot water and appliances that only use electricity. Only three of the more than 200 members voted against the measure, however, the new bylaw must still be approved by the state attorney general’s office.

So whether you believe in the left’s climate claims, and many scientists and climatologists do not, those running many of our small communities sincerely believe the greenhouse gas emission propaganda and are enacting laws to prohibit or drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels—often by trampling on their own citizens’ rights. 

“We need to do something about climate change,” said Werner Lohe, one of the measure’s sponsors and co-chair of the town’s climate action committee. “We need to stop burning fossil fuels inside our buildings … This is the first step in Brookline toward an all-electric, all-renewable-energy world.”

I was first made aware of the number of environmental organizations that have partnered with small, local town councils and mayors to set up environmental laws while researching the deplorable state of Democrat-controlled cities for an August article, Democrat-Led Cities Are Beginning to Smell Like Day-Old Fish

Although I have long been aware of Agenda 21 plans and “smart cities,” but I was shocked by the amount of environmental presentations at this year’s annual U.S. Conference of mayors. In fact, if you were not aware that this was a conference of mayors, you could be forgiven for thinking you were attending an environmental group’s annual meeting, particularly if you sat through the Mayors Climate Protection Awards Lunch. Topics included:

  • A Sustainable Normal: From Tesla Superchargers to Bike Share 309 to Organic Community Gardens
  • Moving to a Carbon-Free Economy: Local Policies & Innovative Best Practices
  • The Recycling Crisis in U.S. Cities: Working Together for a Sustainable Future.
  • Accelerating climate Change Action Through Reporting: CDP
  • The Pathway to 100% Renewable Energy in American Cities
  • San Jose’s Strategy for Renewable Energy—-SJCE
  • Smart Energy Solutions: Deploying Microgrids for Reliability, Security, and Affordability
  • Ocean Current Energy Initiative
  • PGE’s Wheatridge Hybrid Renewable Energy Facility—38-MegaWatts of Wind, Solar and Battery Storage

It is abundantly clear what this organization, and many city officials, consider to be their governing priorities in our American cities—and it is not affordable housing, illegal immigration, jobs or crime. 

Another environmental organization, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), a conglomeration of 94 cities around the world that they say represent one-twelfth of the world’s population, one-quarter of the global economy and 70 percent of the global CO2 emissions. C40 is focused on “tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, well being and economic opportunities of urban citizens.” U.S. cities that are members include:

  •  Austin
  •  Boston
  •  Chicago
  •  Houston
  •  Los Angeles
  •  New Orleans
  •  New York City
  •  Philadelphia
  •  Portland
  •  San Franciso
  •  Seattle
  •  Washington, D.C.

What is so alarming is the sheer number of small towns like Brookline that are saturated in environmental policies and plans and have set up local energy and climate committees and focus groups. One such group, ICLEI, is a huge proponent of Agenda 21 fossil fuel initiatives. According to ICLEI’s website, “ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 100+ countries, we influence sustainability policy and drive local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. We bring sustainability to a rapidly developing urban world.” The global group counts more than than 235 U.S. cities as members: 

  1. Acton, MA
  2. Alameda, CA
  3. Alameda County, CA
  4. Alexandria, VA
  5. Ann Arbor, MI
  6. Antioch, CA
  7. Arlington County, VA
  8. Ashland, OR
  9. Aspen, CO
  10. Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments
  11. Auburn University
  12. Auburn, WA
  13. Bainbridge Island, WA
  14. Baltimore, MD
  15. Bath, ME
  16. Beacon, NY
  17. Beaverton, OR
  18. Bellingham, WA
  19. Bend, OR
  20. Benicia, CA
  21. Berkeley, CA
  22. Binghamton, NY
  23. Birmingham, AL
  24. Blacksburg, VA
  25. Bloomington, IN
  26. Boise, ID
  27. Boulder, CO
  28. Boynton Beach, FL
  29. Bozeman, MT
  30. Breckenridge, CO
  31. Broward County, FL
  32. Burien, WA
  33. Cambridge, MA
  34. Camden, ME
  35. Campbell, CA
  36. Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board
  37. Centre Region Council of Governments, PA
  38. Charlottesville, VA
  39. Chatham County, NC
  40. Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission
  41. Chula Vista, CA
  42. Cincinnati, OH
  43. Clearwater, FL
  44. College Park, MD
  45. Columbia, MO
  46. Columbus, IN
  47. Columbus, OH
  48. Community Office of Resource Efficiency
  49. Creve Coeur, MO
  50. Dallas, TX
  51. Dane County, WI
  52. Davie, FL
  53. Davis, CA
  54. Dedham, MA
  55. Deerfield Beach, FL
  56. DeKalb, IL
  57. Delray Beach, FL
  58. Denton, TX
  59. Denver, CO
  60. Des Moines, IA
  61. DeWitt, NY
  62. Dover, NY
  63. Dublin, CA
  64. Dubuque, IA
  65. Dunedin, FL
  66. Durango, CO
  67. Durham, NC
  68. Eagle County, CO
  69. East Hampton, NY
  70. East Lansing, MI
  71. Eau Claire, WI
  72. Ecology Action Center
  73. Edgewater, CO
  74. Edmonds, WA
  75. Emeryville, CA
  76. Encinitas, CA
  77. Eugene, OR
  78. Everett, WA
  79. Ferguson Township, PA
  80. Flagstaff, AZ
  81. Florence, AL
  82. Fort Collins, CO
  83. Fort Lauderdale, FL
  84. Foster City, CA
  85. Fremont, CA
  86. Gaithersburg, MD
  87. Glen Rock, NJ
  88. Grand Rapids, MI
  89. Grapevine, TX
  90. Greenbelt, MD
  91. Greenville, SC
  92. Hallandale Beach, FL
  93. Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
  94. Hattiesburg, MS
  95. Haverstraw, NY
  96. Hawaii County, HI
  97. Hayward, CA
  98. Hoboken, NJ
  99. Holland, MI
  100. Honolulu County, HI
  101. Humboldt County, CA
  102. Irvine, CA
  103. Jackson, WY
  104. Jefferson County, WA
  105. Jersey City, NJ
  106. Johnson County, IA
  107. Kaua’i County, HI
  108. Keene, NH
  109. Kennebunk, ME
  110. Kennebunkport, ME
  111. Kent, OH
  112. King County, WA
  113. Kirkland, WA
  114. Kirkwood, MO
  115. La Grange Park, IL
  116. Lake Oswego, OR
  117. Lakewood, CO
  118. Lancaster, NY
  119. Lansing, MI
  120. Larchmont, NY
  121. Lawrence, KS
  122. Leon County, FL
  123. Leon Valley TX
  124. Livingston, MT
  125. Los Gatos, CA
  126. Madison, WI
  127. Manatee County, FL
  128. Martinez, CA
  129. Maui, HI
  130. Menlo Park, CA
  131. Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
  132. Miami, FL
  133. Miami-Dade County, FL
  134. Millbrae, CA
  135. Milwaukee, WI
  136. Milwaukie, OR
  137. Minneapolis, MN
  138. Missoula, MT
  139. Missoula County, MT
  140. Monterey, CA
  141. Montgomery County, MD
  142. Montpelier, VT
  143. Moscow, ID
  144. Mount Kisco, NY
  145. Nashville-Davidson County, TN
  146. Newark, CA
  147. Newberg, OR
  148. Newburyport, MA
  149. New Hartford, NY
  150. New Haven, CT
  151. New Paltz, NY
  152. New Rochelle, NY
  153. New York, NY
  154. Northfield, MN
  155. North Miami, FL
  156. Nyack, NY
  157. Oakland Park, FL
  158. Oberlin, OH
  159. Olympia, WA
  160. Orlando, FL
  161. Oxford, OH
  162. Palm Beach County, FL
  163. Palmdale, CA
  164. Palo Alto, CA
  165. Park City, UT
  166. Park Forest, IL
  167. Peekskill, NY
  168. Philadelphia, PA
  169. Philipstown, NY
  170. Piedmont, CA
  171. Pinecrest, FL
  172. Pittsburgh, PA
  173. Pleasantville, NY
  174. Port Angeles, WA
  175. Portland, OR
  176. Portsmouth, NH
  177. Princeton, NJ
  178. Red Lodge, MT
  179. Reno, NV
  180. Richmond, VA
  181. Riverside, CA
  182. Roanoke, VA
  183. Rochester, NY
  184. Rockville, MD
  185. Roeland Park, KS
  186. Saint Paul, MN
  187. San Anselmo, CA
  188. San Jose, CA
  189. Santa Ana, CA
  190. Santa Clara, CA
  191. Santa Cruz, CA
  192. Santa Fe, NM
  193. Santa Fe County, NM
  194. Santa Monica, CA
  195. Savannah, GA
  196. Sedona, AZ
  197. Snoqualmie, WA
  198. Solana Beach, CA
  199. Solano County, CA
  200. Sonoma County, CA
  201. South Bay Cities Council of Governments
  202. South Bend, IN
  203. South Miami, FL
  204. Spartanburg, SC
  205. State College Borough, PA
  206. Sullivan County, NY
  207. Summit County, UT
  208. Sunrise, FL
  209. Surfside, FL
  210. Tacoma, WA
  211. Tallahassee, FL
  212. Tempe, AZ
  213. Thousand Oaks, CA
  214. Tompkins County, NY
  215. Travis County, TX
  216. Union City, CA
  217. University of Northern Iowa
  218. Urbana, IL
  219. Ventura County, CA
  220. Washington, DC
  221. Washtenaw County, MI
  222. Waterloo, NY
  223. Wellesley, MA
  224. West Hollywood, CA
  225. West Lafayette, IN
  226. Westminster, CO
  227. West Palm Beach, FL
  228. Whatcom County, WA
  229. Whitefish, MT
  230. Wilmington, NC
  231. Wilton Manors, FL
  232. Windsor, CA
  233. Winter Park, FL
  234. Woodstock, GA
  235. York, ME
  236. Yountville, CA
  237. Ypsilanti, MI

If this demonstrable (and purposeful though annonying) scrolling hasn’t alarmed you to the run-away proliferation of small cities involved in environmental initiatives, I’m not sure what will. Always lagging behind the cultural and educational wars, conservatives appear to believe they are winning the war against “wacko” environmentalist, but this is a dangerous fallacy. Progressives have always worked from the ground up, infiltrating local government by running for small town councils and mobilizing the support of national and global—and deep-pocketed—government and non-government organizations to assist them in reaching their goals.

On the national level, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did, in fact, unveil legislation last week that would provide $180 billion over 10 years to cut carbon dioxide emissions from public housing across the country, making good on AOC’s plan to enact her earlier Green New Deal proposal in “parts.” It’s a brilliant strategy by progressives, many of whom have decades of experience in how to long-march global agendas into public policy through innumerable agencies.  

And according to a Business Insider February 2019 poll, more than 80 percent of Americans supported almost all of the key ideas in the original Green New Deal. It appears that in releasing this latest green legislation, AOC and company did their homework, strategizing on how to capitalize on the same  grassroots support for banning fossil fuels Business Insider found. Not only did AOC follow through on executing her legislation in pieces, she managed to get presidential contenders Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to co-sponsor the bill, most likely hoping to unify support from a disparate Democrat Party base.

The new bill, dubbed The New Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, would create new grant programs through state partnerships to transition housing units to zero-carbon, energy-efficient housing. According to a CNBC report, “The [new] legislation would retrofit 1 million units of federally owned housing and provide funding to add solar panels and secure renewable energy resources for all public housing.”

What these environmental activist do lack, however, is the bigger picture. In California, for example, PG&E’s rolling electrical blackouts have hurt citizens and business, caused schools to close and increased exposure to wildfires. Not only have destructive energy policies in California caused economic consequences adding up in the millions, it has created a virtual recipe to remain a tinderbox for years to come. Creators of the new policy in Brookline admit that their bylaws were modeled after California, which has passed 19 similar measures throughout the state.

With this in mind, it is hard to understand why so many cities in New England are rushing to rely on a monolithic source of energy like California, particularly when they will remain reliant on natural gas for years to come. California residents can survive without air conditioning, but you must have a reliable heat source in New England, where prolonged exposure to cold temperatures could result in tragic deaths. Additionally, the cost of housing in the northeast is infamously high and more construction restrictions may hurt those people who are looking to buy a home.

No matter how much progressives push for renewable energy, natural gas—a fossil fuel—continues to be one of the largest sources to generate electricity. Renewable resources such as solar and wind energy will not become the nation’s major energy supplier for decades to come. 

According to PG&E, over 85 percent of the electricity they provide to customers come from sources that are greenhouse-gas free. Only 15 percent of their power mix is derived from natural gas and none by coal, making it one of the most expensive energy states. Although there has been much digital ink spent on the cause of the blackouts, little has been said said about the costs of California’s renewable energy source mandates. According to the Pacific Research Institute, California’s system for delivering electricity is primarily managed by utilities that are lumbering, inflexible bureaucracies operating government-protected monopolies.”

The media is mostly blaming the state’s environmental restrictions on cleaning up the underbrush on federal and state managed lands (which is certainly true), lands that become kindling for electrically-sparked fires. But at least two state Republicans have hinted that the main cause exacerbating PG&E’s ability to fix its underbrush and equipment problems lies in its renewable energy programs sucking up a disproportionate amount of state funds. 

In a San Diego Union-Tribune report, California senators Jim Nielsen (R) and James Gallagher (R) want to “temporarily pause” the state’s renewable energy mandates and require the state’s investor-owned utilities such as PG&E, San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison to use that money to harden the grid and reduce forest fuels. 

“The two Republicans said every dollar spent on additional costs of renewable energy results in a dollar not available to spend on culling vegetation, insulating power lines, placing lines underground and other measures.”

Small towns across America are diving into the shark-infested waters of monolithic and expensive renewable energy programs while treading on individual’s rights to choose their own energy source, such as installing natural gas fireplaces and stoves. No doubt, legislation such as that which passed in Massachusetts will be challenged in the courts, as it should be.

Stephen Dodge, executive director of the Massachusetts Petroleum Council, a trade association for the gas and oil industry, told the Globe, “If cities and towns can start trying to outlaw utilities licensed by the state Department of Public Utilities from serving willing customers who want to buy energy from them, we’re heading toward regulatory and legal chaos. Prohibiting Brookline residents from choosing an affordable, reliable, and entirely legal heating fuel like natural gas or bioheat is outrageously unfair.” And so it is. #Reignwell

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