Petaluma, California has passed a law restricting the construction of new gasoline stations. Located 40 miles north of the San Francisco Bay Area, the small city is home to around 60,000 people and has 16 gas stations. In recent legislation, the city council has banned any further gas stations from being built here.
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“Prohibiting new gas stations serves the public interest by preventing new sources of pollution that adversely impact environmental and human health,” the law states.
The law solidifies a ban that had been temporarily implemented in 2019. Following the enactment of the law, Petaluma has been receiving attention both nationally and internationally. The law now makes the city the first in the U.S. to prohibit the construction of new gas stations.
“We didn’t know we would be the first, and I keep saying that we didn’t do this to be the first,” said Mayor Teresa Barret. “We’re taking one step at a time here because that’s how change is made. To me, it’s really important we’re not just ticking off boxes. If we want to be carbon neutral by 2030, we have to make these changes.”
A recent study carried out by the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority places the transport sector at the center of air pollution. According to the study, 60% of greenhouse gas emissions in the region are caused by vehicles.
Although the news has been well-received by many, those in the fuel industry are opposed to the move. The California Fuels & Convenience Alliance said, “Various localities throughout the state have started down a misguided direction, banning new gas stations within city and county limits, through ordinance or moratorium. This single-minded approach will ultimately cause greater harm for communities than any potential benefit.”
Even with such opposition, the city council maintains its stand. If the world is to successfully fight against pollution, and ultimately climate change, it is necessary for officials to start taking such actions.