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Construction companies react to Eugene's natural gas ban

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The Eugene City Council banned the use of natural gas in a 5-3 vote on Monday evening, making it the first city in Oregon to ban natural gas infrastructure in new low-rise residential construction.

Roman Anderson, project manager at Kimball Construction, was confident the bill would pass and fully supports the decision.

"I think it's great. There's much better options for heating and cooling homes and cooking than using gas," said Anderson. "I think that the council did a great job and a wise decision in finding a compromise that allows some businesses to operate in the way they want to operate while also starting the conversation on moving people away from fossil fuels."

Kimball Construction has recommended that customers use electric stoves for over ten years, partly because it is less expensive. He says customers also save on infrastructure costs, including utility lines, gas piping and venting.

Kimball also encourages customers to use EWEB rebates that make installing and switching to electricity more affordable.

Jason Kaminski, owner of Kaminski Construction, has a different perspective.

"I do not agree with the city council's decision on banning natural gas," said Kaminski. "I think that people should have had a vote on this, so we do get a say on this because it does affect all of us. Whether you're a residential homeowner to a contractor in the trade or not, imagine the lives that it's going to affect for those contractors that are running the gas piping, and those gas appliances, and the manufacturing plants making those products. I think it's going to deeply affect the area because of that."

He says the ban will significantly impact how the company proposes ideas to clients, and will hurt sales of gas piping and furnaces.

"I appreciate the fact that some people feel like they are losing a choice," said Anderson. "The freedom to use an inefficient, dangerous energy source... I just don't buy it. I don't believe it."

Kaminski says he opposes limiting residents' options, worrying that there could be a monopoly.

"It limits that there is only one option," said Kaminski. "It's like having one gas station in town... if you only have one gas station, everyone is going to go there."

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The ban will go into effect on June 30.

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