Eric Garcetti Declares ‘Green New Deal’ in L.A., Cancels Natural Gas Plants; Officials Doubt ‘Keeping the Lights On’

Eric Garcetti (Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty)
Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared Monday that the city would abandon plans to rebuild three natural gas power plants, despite concerns that the city could face acute power shortages as a result.

Instead, the city will look for energy from renewable sources, including wind and solar, he decided.

“This is the Green New Deal … Not in concept, not in the future, but now,” Garcetti said, as quoted by the Los Angeles Times.

He made the decision despite the fact that “top staffers have argued in recent months that the gas plants are critical to keeping the lights on in the city,” the Times noted.

The term “Green New Deal” refers to a bill introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) last week, which proposes moving the entire U.S. economy to renewable energy in the next ten years. The plan also aims to provide every American with a guaranteed “job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people.”

The bill does not explain how those benefits will be paid for, nor how the renewable energy goals will be achieved, given that renewables currently provide less than 20% of the country’s energy.

Environmentalists are also opposed to using one of those renewable sources, hydroelectric power, because of concerns about environmental damage caused by dams.

California has a law already in place mandating a shift to 100% renewable sources — but by 2045, not 2030. It is not clear how the state will achieve that goal.

In his comments, Garcetti slammed natural gas as an energy source: “[N]ow is the time to start the beginning of the end of natural gas.”

Ironically, the switch from coal to natural gas over the past decade has enabled the U.S. economy to grow while reducing emissions over the long run. “More gas for electricity has been our most effective weapon at combating climate change,” wrote RealClearEnergy editor Jude Clemente last year.

Garcetti pledged to replace L.A.’s natural gas plants with wind and solar energy, but offered no plans describing how the city would do so, nor whether it would be able to meet the energy needs of an expanding city.

Southern California already struggles to provide electricity to consumers during heat waves, when air conditioning use is at a maximum, and prices soar. In addition, utilities have begun shutting down power lines during high winds for fear of starting wildfires.

During a natural gas leak in Porter Ranch in 2016, L.A. authorities worried that the temporary closure of one natural gas plant could lead to power outages.

Nevertheless, Eric Garcetti was bullish on a future without fossil fuels — even without a plan to replace them.

The mayor said he had challenged the city’s Department of Water and Power to come up with an answer: “Instead of saying all the reasons why not, get to a reason as to why.”

Garcetti will leave office in 2022. The first of the three plants to be replaced will be retired in 2024.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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