Arizonans should strongly applaud the legislation that Gov. Doug Ducey signed recently that supports natural gas and offers cities, counties, families and business consistent and transparent rules for the future use of much-needed natural gas.

A few radically minded cities in California and elsewhere have considered banning new natural gas hookups for homes and business, raising concerns for energy users everywhere.

While no restrictions on natural gas have been proposed in Arizona, it is commendable that our elected leaders took preemptive action against such ill-conceived prohibitions, to give all Arizonans a certain peace of mind.

These actions to restrict natural gas are impulsive and ill-advised and, if adopted, would curtail the world-leading environmental progress we’re making while creating an unnecessary cost burden for consumers that also risks our energy security.

The proposed bans run counter to new research from the Department of Energy that shows we must increase our generation from natural gas and other sources to complement the important and growing addition of wind and solar power to our grid. Failure to do so puts our access to affordable, reliable energy at risk, the DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory said in a report released in February.

As the leading voice for sensible energy policies for families and businesses, Consumer Energy Alliance believes that consumers can make rational, smart decisions themselves about the kind of energy they want to use for cooking or heating. Policies pushed by anti-energy activists — for whom consumer costs are immaterial — are not the solution and reduce our freedom to choose.

If municipalities are allowed to embrace this overzealous fad, we will generate a crazy patchwork of confusing energy policies — and higher energy prices.

Our best solutions come when our governments and private sector work together to offer environmentally sound solutions to meeting our energy needs. The evidence of that path’s success grows by the day.

At a time of record oil and gas production, the U.S. leads the world in environmental standards and emissions reductions on an absolute basis. That’s largely due to the use of natural gas, advances in technology and ongoing progress in renewable energy.

In 2019, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell a whopping 2.1%, according to the Energy Information Administration. The decline largely reflected the increased use of natural gas, wind and solar by utilities in Arizona and all across the country. And it’s a long-term trend: Our overall greenhouse gas emissions fell by 12% from 2005 to 2017, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Not only that, by 2025, we’ll be two-thirds of the way toward meeting our Paris agreement targets of a 25-28% reduction in emissions from 2005 levels, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Eliminating natural gas from our energy mix is eliminating immediate, tangible emissions reductions. These all-or-nothing bans sabotage sound policies that place affordability, reliability and environmental stewardship on an equal footing.

Worse, they interfere with a long, successful American tradition of government, businesses and citizens working together to solve our biggest challenges.

We applaud the state legislators and Gov. Ducey who have the foresight to defend these important goals.

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David Holt is a founder and president of Consumer Energy Alliance, which represents energy consumers including families, farmers, manufacturers, truckers and small businesses.

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