A six-month ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure will remain in place, the Vancouver city council decided Monday, after a public hearing showed broad support for the moratorium.
Their vote to sustain the moratorium was unanimous. They heard more than an hour’s worth of public testimony on the topic, with dozens of residents calling into the remote forum to voice support for the temporary fossil fuel ban.
“We don’t need to grow the fossil fuel industry,” said Don Steinke, a local climate change activist who spoke in support of the freeze. “Extend your moratorium the full six months, and then make it permanent this year.”
The city council passed the six-month freeze on fossil fuel development on June 8. Surprise moratoriums are legal, as long as the city provides a public forum to revisit the issue within 60 days, which was the purpose of Monday’s discussion. Following that forum, the council had the option to dismiss or sustain the previously passed moratorium.
The decision bans any new large-scale fossil fuel facilities, as well as any expansions to existing ones, within Vancouver city limits through at least the end of 2020.
The document defines a”fossil fuel facility” as anywhere that refines, stores, ships, burns or extracts petroleum products or natural gas. It specifically exempts direct-to-consumer facilities, like gas stations, from the freeze. It also exempts plants that deal in petroleum byproducts like asphalt, paints, fertilizers and plastics.