HB 106: Preempting cities on utilities and natural gas — 2023
ICL's position: Oppose
Current Bill Status: Signed by Governor
Issue Areas: Clean Energy, Natural Gas, Planning and zoning
Introduced by House Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Sage Dixon (R-Ponderay), House Bill 106 preempts the ability of local cities or counties from limiting the installation of utilities.
The bill is in response to some cities, outside of Idaho, limiting natural gas connections in newly constructed homes.
The reality is that there are no current or planned efforts by cities or counties in the State to restrict utility connections.
The bill will miss its intended target, and instead limit important planning functions of cities and counties. The bill is written as broadly as possible to prohibit planning to any action that could have the effect of restricting utility connections. Local government diligently plans utility infrastructure with private utilities and residents in working collaboratives, and this bill may harm what is now a functional and efficient process.
Finally, the energy transition is happening now, and it’s driven by economics, not regulations. Gas prices are more volatile now than at anytime in the past twenty years, and electric conversion is cheaper, more efficient, and cleaner in the long run. Eventually, buried gas lines will be underused and put cost burdens on homeowner and city budgets to stabilize or remove. This bill restricts the ability of cities to plan for the coming and inevitable energy transition, and may create future problems for Idahoans.