The Californian city of Petaluma has recently become the first in the US to ban the construction of new gas stations in an effort to accelerate the shift towards greener transportation.
The ban will limit the number of gas stations to their current count of 16 while also preventing these from expanding the number of fuel pumps. The move, celebrated by climate activists, is a national first and represents a crucial step towards cutting our reliance on dirty fossil fuels.
“It’s a really important sign of things to come where, because we haven’t seen sufficient action at a state or federal level, cities have an opportunity to do the right thing and make sure we are planning a transition from a carbon economy to a clean energy economy,” says Matt Krogh from the environmental nonprofit Stand. earth.
Within the Stand.earth’s nonprofit is a movement called Stand Against Fossil Fuel Expansion (SAFE) Cities which supports policies that oppose new fossil fuel infrastructure and helped advocate for the passing of the bill. New gas station bans could soon be part of such policy packages nationwide, along with standards like no gas in new buildings and expanded EV charging infrastructure.
Another activist group called the Coalition Opposing New Gas Stations (CONGAS) has also been advocating for two years for a ban on new gas stations in the entirety of Sonoma County — which includes Petaluma and eight other cities. Petaluma’s ban marks the first legislative victory for CONGAS as it seeks to change the permitting laws against gas stations.
Though Petaluma has been lagging behind in terms of climate action, its gas station ban will hopefully now inspire others to push their local governments to pass similar forward-thinking legislation.