Windsor City Council votes to ban new service stations | Community
In a vote of four to one, Windsor City Council voted to stop allowing new gas stations and to stop allowing existing stations to expand their gasoline and diesel refueling facilities. The measure was presented to city council by the Coalition Opposing New Gas Stations (CONGAS), a Sonoma County-based community group that says the logical first step to addressing the climate crisis is to stop adding infrastructure. of fossil fuels in our communities.
“It’s not a local problem, it’s a global problem,” said Mayor Sam Salmon, who describes himself not just as a supporter of the measure, but as an advocate. “It’s not just about the high temperatures of the past few days, it’s more than that,” he said, referring to the global climate crisis. Windsor passed a climate emergency resolution in 2019 and the move is seen as a logical next step.
The movement to stop allowing new gas stations began in Petaluma in early 2021 when it became the first city in the United States to pass such a measure. To date, five cities in Sonoma County have enacted such bans: Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Cotati and Santa Rosa. CONGAS leaders are engaged with the three remaining cities and the county to take similar action.
Woody Hastings, co-coordinator of CONGAS said that “there is so much we need to do to save the planet. In our view, the first step is to stop allowing the things that make the problem worse. Gas stations fall into this category. They are a waste of public resources, impose local pollution loads, contribute to the climate crisis and leave a trail of destruction in communities around the world where oil is extracted, transported and refined,” he said.
Vice Mayor Esther Lemus encouraged her peers to “take bold action” in the face of the climate crisis and said the city must build the infrastructure of the future.
In her comments ahead of her upvote, Council member Rosa Reynoza pointed out that many people she knows cannot afford a new car, whether electric or gas-powered, and that efforts must continue to serve all Windsor residents with affordable, accessible mobility.
The lone dissenter in the four-to-one vote, Mike Wall, expressed concern about what could happen if one of the city’s four stations closed and said the measure was “unnecessary”. However, CONGAS representatives point out that there are several proposals for active gas stations in the county and that the ordinance is necessary to ensure that no new toxic sites are created that will require costly cleanup in a few years. only when it becomes obsolete.