California ditched coal. The gas company is worried it’s next; ‘why use gas when we can use sunshine instead,’ Court Rich, Rose Law Group co-founder asks

A sign declares the boundary line of the Southern California Gas storage facility at Aliso Canyon. / Michael Owen Baker / Los Angeles Times

By Sammy Roth | Los Angeles Times

Every day, millions of Californians burn a planet-warming fossil fuel to cook dinner, stay warm or take a hot shower.

Persuading people to stop using that fuel, natural gas, is shaping up to be the next act in California’s war on climate change.

And unlike the state’s successful push to ditch coal — which mostly affected out-of-state mines and power plants, and was relatively painless for California residents and businesses — early efforts to phase out gas are already facing pushback from a powerful homegrown company.

Southern California Gas Co., which serves nearly 22 million people from the Central Valley to the U.S.-Mexico border, is determined to prevent a future without gas from coming to pass, even if it may not arrive for years or decades. The utility has begun a sweeping campaign to preserve the role of its pipelines in powering society — an outcome critics say would undermine California’s efforts to fight climate change.


“Now that renewables are so cheap, the next question will naturally be whether or not it makes sense to continue to use natural gas to power many of our home appliances. Whether or not you are a climate change hawk, burning fossil fuels including natural gas is just plain dirty. Coming soon to a state near you; do we really need to dry our cloths with polluting natural gas when we can do it with the sunshine instead?”

~Court Rich