Governments across the US and Canada moving off methane gas

Published on October 25, 2022

More large and small cities, places with cold climates, and US states join the movement for all-electric buildings

Updated October 27, 2022

Over the past six months, more than 30 local and state governments have passed or introduced new policies to limit methane gas and other fossil fuel use in buildings to protect local health, safety, equity, and global climate. SAFE Cities and partners will host a live online joint policy announcement event on October 26 (register here) (Event has passed. Please see recording here) that honors local leadership in the growing building electrification movement and features the launch of a Briefing Note that counters the false and misleading messaging of the gas industry.

Bellingham, WA, Traditional Lummi and Nooksack Lands – A growing number of communities and states in the US and Canada are developing and passing building electrification policies. These policies protect communities, particularly the most marginalized members, and the planet, from the impacts of burned and leaked methane gas. Governments taking action include cities with challenging cold weather climates, large and small jurisdictions, cities introducing innovative new approaches to decarbonization, cities that have inspired their state governments to take action, and cities that have acted despite restrictions from their states.

SAFE Cities works with local government leaders and advocates to stop fossil fuel expansion and phase out fossil fuels. Along with our partners, we’re honored to recognize these leaders in building electrification at our joint policy announcement on Building Electrification and excited to share our Briefing Note that will help them fight back against industry falsehoods.

Anne Pernick, SAFE Cities Senior Advisor, said: “This impressive wave of policies shows that people know we need to and can move off methane everywhere to secure a better, safer future for our communities and the world. The daily headlines about the weaponization of fossil fuels and other dirty energy make that even more clear. Building electrification works in cold climates, across borders, and in communities large and small. SAFE Cities is honored to support the thoughtful and committed people who are leading the end of fossil fuel expansion and the transition to clean energy.”

For a detailed list of specific policies that moved forward and quotes from local leaders involved in making them happen, please visit this page.

Building electrification is moving in cold climates, including Massachusetts, Quebec, Missouri, and New York. The first building electrification policy was passed in Berkeley, CA, in 2019. The movement in California garnered a lot of deserved attention – however, Brookline, MA, also passed a policy in 2019, only to be blocked by the State from enforcing it. Now Brookline and many other municipalities in Massachusetts, including Boston, successfully lobbied for a new, 10 community pilot option from the state for pursuing local building electrification, driving home that leaders in colder climates are committed to getting their communities off methane gas and other fossil fuels.

Montréal, Quebec has some of the coldest winters in North America, and Mayor Plante has directed staff to develop a building electrification policy for new construction. Municipalities in New York State as well as Kansas City, MO are also part of the wave of building electrification in cities with cold winters.

Kansas City, MO adopted a series of recommendations in its Climate Protection & Resilience Plan (CPRP) to speed building electrification even though the State Legislature has prohibited, or preempted, local policies on building electrification.

In New York State, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, has been selected to be part of the “Stretch to Zero” building electrification pilot. The pilot comes with financial support for the selected communities to develop policies. In Bethlehem, NY, building electrification policies are part of the recommendations in its newly-adopted Comprehensive Plan.

Statewide building electrification policies are also passing and momentum continues in California. In the State of Washington, numerous local policies inspired the State Building Code Council to pass statewide building electrification for new commercial buildings, including large apartment buildings. Now the State is considering a similar policy to electrify new residential buildings.

California is where the local building electrification policies began, and now the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has adopted a set of recommendations, including prohibiting the sale of gas space and water heating appliances after 2030. CARB staff will now work on developing a specific policy for the Board to consider. Meanwhile, local governments in the state have continued moving forward their own policies over the past six months. Los Angeles directed several city departments to develop a plan for citywide electrification of new construction, and San Diego passed a climate action plan with recommendations for electrifying new construction and existing buildings. Additionally, Hercules, San Luis Obispo, Santa Monica, Martinez, and Pasadena all passed policies as well.

The last six months in the movement have included many additional firsts in building electrification. Vancouver, BC’s policy is the first one in Canada for existing buildings. Victoria, BC’s is the first mandatory building electrification policy in the province outside of Vancouver. New Westminster, BC’s resolution is the first to explicitly name all-electric as a priority over any kinds of gas, including what the industry calls “renewable natural gas.” Washington, DC, passed a building electrification policy and Eugene, OR, became the first community in the state to introduce policies for community-wide building electrification.

For a detailed list of specific policies that moved forward and quotes from local leaders involved in making them happen, please visit this page.

Learn more about the SAFE Cities movement at

Media contacts:
Sohini Baliga, +1-415-532-3808,