Cities across America are passing ordinances that prevent the fossil fuel industry from building or expanding fossil fuel operations within their municipalities through land-use ordinances. These laws predominantly target fossil fuel storage and transport, oil and gas exploration and development, and new export facilities for coal, oil, gas, and their derivatives. Some of these restrictions take the form of temporary moratoriums (urgency measures), such as in Hoquiam WA, Broomfield CO, and Vancouver WA. These moratoriums are often readopted; in such cases the cities utilize the time periods created by these moratoriums to research the effect of banning new fossil fuel facilities or to draft new zoning regulations. It should be noted that few of these ordinances force existing facilities to shut down (with the notable exception of Richmond CA).
Many similar temporary moratoriums & zoning ordinances have been passed by showing the detrimental effects created by fossil fuels for the general public. The most commonly effective justification for these ordinances is concern over public health, e.g., air pollution, discharges to bodies of water, worker and community safety. Depending on how much opposition arises from fossil fuel companies and their allies, the process of amending or creating a zoning ordinance has taken as little as 6 months and as long as 6 years.
Goal: Restrict fossil fuel infrastructure development (industrial scale facilities), e.g., drilling, refining, processing, storage, shipping.
- Improved air quality
- Net reductions in GHG emissions
- Diminished size, capacity, and number of fossil fuel processing plants
Time to Implement:
- Varies from a few months to a few years
Baltimore MD Zoning Ordinance Prohibiting Crude Oil Terminals (read attachment 8, page 4)
Portland OR city council prepares third attempt to place limits on local fossil fuel terminals (news article)
Santa Cruz County CA General Plan amendment that “Prohibits Oil and Gas Exploration and Development” (See Pg 3 to 6)
Broomfield CO Ordinance Regarding Oil and Gas Land Use Regulations, Ordinance No. 214 (see pgs 3-5)
Richmond CA Zoning and Subdivision Regulations, Article 15.04.615, which prohibits “the Storage and Handling of Coal and Petroleum Coke”
California Government Code which allows cities to adopt “urgency measures” that temporarily prohibit “any uses that may be in conflict with a contemplated general plan, specific plan, or zoning proposal” that is being considered.
How Baltimore Successfully Defended Their Community Against Oil Trains
Fossil Fuel Facilities in Focus in Vancouver (Report that declares Vancouver’s temporary moratorium will be made permanent)
Maine pipeline co drops lawsuit over city law that blocked oil export
Stand.earth compilation of temporary and permanent restrictions on new or expanded fossil fuel infrastructure
A Decade of Successes Against Fossil Fuel Export Projects in Cascadia
Baltimore City Council Member & Bill Sponsor
100 Holliday Street, Room 513
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
FAX: (410) 347-0547
Supervising Planner, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability,
City of Portland
1900 SW 4th Avenue,
Portland, OR 97201
Kathleen Molloy Previsich
701 Ocean Street 4TH Floor,
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Santa Cruz Planning Director
FAX: (831) 454-2131