April 2024 Newsletter

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Local Action for a Better World

April is Earth Month!

Spring is the perfect time to renew our commitment to the clean energy transition!

New federal rules mean big cuts in pollution from vehicles

The month of March brought good news twice over from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). First, the EPA announced new pollution standards for cars and light trucks that will greatly speed the transition from gas-powered to electric vehicles. Then, they announced new standards for heavy-duty vehicles like freight trucks and buses. Yay!

Cutting pollution at home

Reducing tailpipe pollution is essential, but so is reducing emissions from our homes, schools and workplaces. That means replacing gas appliances—stoves, water heaters, clothes dryers, and HVAC systems—with all-electric models.

Last year, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) adopted new rules to improve air quality and public health. Sales or installation of water heaters that emit nitrogen oxide (that is, ones that run on so-called “natural” gas) will be banned starting in 2027, with a similar ban on furnaces starting in 2029.   

But homeowners and renters don’t need to wait until 2027 to make their homes more healthful and less polluting.

Resources for the clean energy transition at home

These days, since passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, there are a huge number of residential electrification incentive programs designed to make everyone’s personal clean energy transition more affordable. But navigating the options and figuring out the best ways to go all-electric can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, you don’t need to do all the research yourself.

Whether you rent or own your home, Rewiring America offers clear, detailed information to help you switch to electric appliances, purchase electric vehicles, install rooftop solar… and more.

For homeowners, the folks at QuitCarbon will assess your needs, create a personalized home upgrade plan, and connect you with a local contractor who’s trustworthy and up to speed on electrification—all at no cost to you.

If you still need a little inspiration to start your switch to all-electric, check out this R&B tune by two Berkeley musicians: (I’m Your) Heat Pump!

Where does your electricity come from?

Whether your home is all-electric or still has some gas appliances, it’s important to make sure your electricity comes from renewable sources like solar and wind power if possible.

If you live in one of the many areas in Contra Costa served by MCE Community Energy, you can choose their Deep Green option. Deep Green customers’ electricity comes from 100 percent renewable sources and costs about the same as PG&E. Sign up on their website—you’ll continue to be billed by PG&E, but you’ll be cutting your carbon footprint significantly!


Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour

presents green home features

Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5, 10am – 5pm

The climate crisis is also a biodiversity crisis, and planting native gardens is a big step toward restoring healthy ecosystems. So it’s only natural to combine clean-energy indoor spaces with wildlife-friendly outdoor spaces.

During the first weekend in May, sixty lovely native gardens will be open at various locations throughout Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

Thirty of the sixty homes on the Tour have been electrified—if you visit, you can talk to the homeowners about how they did it. Five of these homes will be open so you can see their electrified features up close: on the listings page, look for the labels Green home features or Come on in this fully electrified home


Brentwood bans drilling—now it’s the county’s turn!

Fantastic news! On February 20, Brentwood became the second Contra Costa city to ban oil and gas drilling (after Antioch’s January 2022 ordinance). Now, it’s time for Contra Costa County to follow suit and impose a ban that would apply to all the county’s unincorporated areas.

Action item: sign the petition for a drilling ban

If you haven’t yet done so, please don’t delay in signing Sunflower Alliance’s online petition to the Board of Supervisors here. Then, pass the word to your friends and neighbors and ask them to sign, too.

As the petition proposes:

“Let's end all new permitting of oil and gas infrastructure, phase out existing drilling in Contra Costa, and transition our fossil fuel workers to good careers in climate-friendly industries.”


No new gas stations in Pinole

More good news! On April 2, the Pinole City Council enacted a temporary moratorium on new gas service stations—and expansion of existing gas stations—within its city limits. The Council can renew the moratorium for up to two years while city staff research a permanent ban.

Several cities in Napa and Sonoma counties have banned new gas stations already, but Pinole is the first city in Contra Costa to do so.


Earth Day events all over!

Lots of Contra Costa cities and towns are planning Earth Day activities for Saturday, April 20. Check out the ones near you below.

We’ll be at the Walnut Creek and Pinole events—if you go, be sure to stop by our table and say hi!


Thank you,

Emily and Lisa

The time for climate action is NOW!

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