Expensive and Counterproductive: AGA Responds to DOE Federal Building Rule

WASHINGTON – The American Gas Association (AGA) today criticized the United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) Clean Energy for New Federal Buildings and Major Renovations of Federal Buildings Rule as ineffective and fiscally irresponsible.

DOE’s rule eliminates natural gas heating, hot water and cooking systems from a broad range of new and modified federal buildings in 2030. According to DOE, the rule would increase overall energy consumption and likely greenhouse gas emissions. The federal building energy standards in this final rule are projected to result in an estimated national increased energy use of 29,000,000 MMBtu.

“Our natural gas utilities are committed to lowering emissions while delivering affordable and reliable energy to all of our customers, including the federal government in all 50 states. Unfortunately, this rule will raise costs on taxpayers to operate our federal government without any guarantee of real environmental gain,” said AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert. “According to DOE’s own data, natural gas is the most affordable way to heat buildings by a factor of three and also the most reliable during the most challenging times. That vital reliability is desperately needed to ensure operability in high-stakes moments, protect our national security, and serve important communities across our nation.”

DOE’s rulemaking comes one day after the adoption and release of two major reports by the National Petroleum Council which made clear that abundant, affordable and reliable natural gas will continue to play a crucial role in energy security and an important role in economic security beyond 2050 in all scenarios. AGA supports the goal of lower emissions and is investing every day to continue to decarbonize our systems. The decision to prioritize electrification over emissions reductions runs afoul of the government’s own investments in natural gas system decarbonization, including the announcement of 8 hydrogen hubs and a more than $7 billion investment in funding for clean hydrogen under the Inflation Reduction Act, and could foreclose or eliminate more cost-effective low and zero carbon energy options.

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