1. We don't need it.
Juneau can use hydropower and heat pumps to replace heating oil. These carbon-free technologies are already operating in homes and facilities around town. That includes the airport, the swimming pool, and the NOAA lab, as well as individual houses.
2. It's not a "bridge fuel."
Natural gas has a reputation for being "greener" because it doesn't emit as much greenhouse gas when burned. However, that's not the case when you look at the whole production process. A recent Cornell study states: “both shale gas and conventional natural gas have a larger greenhouse gas footprint than do coal or oil… particularly for the primary uses of residential and commercial heating.” Avista plans to buy gas from fracked wells in Canada that will have to be shipped to Alaska, increasing the footprint even more.
3. It's more expensive than estimated.
Converting a home to natural gas is more expensive than we've been led to believe. Then you buy the gas, which is subject to volatile international markets. Property taxes may also go up, as they did in Homer when natural gas was installed.
4. Not much bang for the buck.
Construction is estimated to take 10 years and will still never reach 22% of Juneau's residents according to Avista. Heat pump technology is more versatile and you don't have to wait for the line to get to your house. In fact, you can start saving money by burning less carbon right now.
5. It's dangerous.
2 homes exploded and 2 more caught fire in Kenai after the earthquake last month due to natural gas leaks. Juneau's fire department is not yet trained on natural gas fires and will have to get certified at an unknown cost to the public.
There's no reason to spend public money on infrastructure so that a company from Washington can run a new fossil fuel monopoly in our small town.