Sunrise GW signs Earth Day letter supporting path to cut D.C. greenhouse gas emissions

Media Credit: File Photo by Dean Whitelaw | Staff Photographer

Sierra Club Washington D.C. published a letter calling on the D.C. Council Committee on Business and Economic Development to hold a public hearing to review the "climate and health threat posed by emissions” in the city.

Sunrise GW signed a letter urging the D.C. Council to inspect the District’s gas utility hazards and cut all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as part of a city-wide Earth Day push.

Sierra Club Washington D.C. published the letter Wednesday, calling on the D.C. Council Committee on Business and Economic Development to hold a public hearing to review the “climate and health threat posed by emissions” from the Washington Gas Light Company, the District’s gas utility. The Sierra Club, Sunrise GW and 28 other environmental groups addressed the letter to committee chair Kenyan McDuffie, who helped pass the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act requiring the city to use 100 percent sustainable energy by 2032.

“Greenhouse gas emissions from Washington Gas pose a serious threat to the climate,” the letter says. “Other toxins from gas combustion cause indoor air pollution that is a threat to the health of families in D.C.”

The letter stated that Washington Gas is releasing “noxious” fumes when it is burning methane gas. The gas creates nitrogen dioxide, which can increase people’s risk for diabetes, cancer and death, according to the letter.

The letter states that Washington Gas released its climate business plan last month and intends to use biomethane as a “renewable gas,” but biomethane releases greenhouse gases and other pollutants, according to the letter. Biomethane is created from cow manure, which the letter states is too scarce and too expensive for D.C. families to afford.

The groups encouraged Washington Gas to halt gas sales and begin using clean-energy heating systems and air or ground-source heat pumps to continue serving buildings throughout the District.

“Such a business model allows WGL to transition out of the gas and climate disruption business and into the business of providing heat without greenhouse gas emissions,” the letter says.

Sunrise GW’s signature of the letter comes after a semester-long fight for the University to divest from fossil fuel companies like Exxon Mobil and Shell. American University officials announced Wednesday that it has divested from all of its public fossil fuel investments.

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