SoCalGas Sues California as State Moves to Eliminate Natural Gas

The lawsuit was filed last Friday in Orange County Superior Court and aims to protect SoCalGas against the state’s efforts to eliminate the use of natural gas over time.

What We Know:

  • In the lawsuit, SoCalGas argues that the California Energy Commission has not promoted natural gas, which is required by state law, reported the Los Angeles Times. The California Energy Commission’s (CEC) stated goal is, “leading the state to a 100 percent clean energy future.”
  • Though the CEC’s goal is clear, some argue that moving forward with climate-focused-only approach leaves real people and families in the lurch in the nearer future—as electricity is often more expensive than natural gas—while also not realistically representing California’s current energy policy.
  • Last month California State Assembly members Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), and Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) wrote a letter to President Marybel Batjer of the California Public Utilities Commission requesting that more measured steps be taken towards the electrification of California, “The discussion of electrification and its impacts has been growing in recent years in the Legislature, but we are unaware of any specific policy decisions or laws that declare ‘electrification’ as the exclusive policy of the state.”
  • SoCalGas is currently tied to two other environmentally-concerned lawsuits with the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition (CNGVC) and California Restaurant Association (CRA). The CNGVC, backed by SoCalGas and Clean Energy Fuels Corp., is currently suing the Air Resources Board due to its clean trucks regulation, and the CRA filed suit against the City of Berkley due to its gas ban.

These lawsuits come as many members of the public are calling for climate justice, aimed at limiting our nation’s consumption of fossil fuels. SoCalGas has a vested interest in slowing our steps towards fossil-free power as they are the country’s largest gas utility. Last year their parent company, Sempra Energy, earned $4.5 billion in operating revenue.