Movement Grows to Stop New Gas Stations in CA

Novato City Council Votes on Proposed Costco Gas Station
Local residents protest a proposed gas station in the Marin County city of Novato. Photo Credit: Karen Preuss

Suzanne Potter
California News Service

NOVATO, Calif. — The city of Novato voted this week on whether to allow Costco to build a huge new gas station, despite strong opposition from locals concerned about climate change.

Novato is the latest front in a battle to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Lily Cohen, mobilizing team lead for the nonprofit 350 Bay Area, said projects such as this fly in the face of local and state climate goals.

“The more gas infrastructure we have, the more time it would take later on down the road to take down that infrastructure and proceed forward with newer, cleaner, greener infrastructure,” Cohen contended.

Supporters say the city, which currently has a multi-million dollar deficit, stands to make a lot of money from gas taxes, while consumers will have access to cheaper Costco gas. A Costco spokesperson had no comment.

Cohen countered the project would undermine existing gas stations and could cause air and water pollution.

“We need to be thinking more long term,” Cohen asserted. “It creates worse air quality and it could potentially create contamination within the site.”

The movement to ban new gas stations is spreading.

Woody Hastings, co-coordinator of the Coalition Opposing New Gas Stations (Con-GAS), has successfully nixed three gas stations in Sonoma County.

“We shouldn’t be expanding fossil-fuel infrastructure in the time of a 21st-century climate crisis where we’re experiencing consequences, like the unprecedented wildfires that we’ve had up here in the North Bay,” Hastings argued.

Last month the city of Petaluma took a big step toward decarbonization

“February 22nd, they enacted the first prohibition against gas stations in the United States, and we’re hoping this will start other local governments to follow suit,” Hastings concluded.