NY first state to ban natural gas in new buildings

time:2023-06-08 23:25:11 source:The Washington Post

New York has become the first state in the US to ban natural gas and other fossil fuels in most new buildings.

The ban, included in budget legislation, passed on Tuesday in the Democrat-controlled legislature.

Officials hope it will encourage the use of more climate-friendly appliances, like induction stoves.

In January, comments made by a federal US official sparked a fierce backlash over concerns a national gas stove ban was being considered.

The comments by a Consumer item Safety Commission official were later retracted and the White House distanced itself from the remarks.

Under the New York law, new buildings under seven stories must use electric for heating and cooking by 2026, and by 2029 for taller buildings.

The ban does not apply to manufacturing facilities, restaurants, hospitals, and carwashes amongst some other commercial buildings.

Climate activists have seen this largely as a win. Some experts say natural gas also impacts respiratory health, as gas stoves emit nitrogen oxide pollution.

Republicans in the state decried the move as government overreach, arguing it limits consumer choice.

Gas is still cheaper than electricity for many in the state, and the new law also applies to propane and heating oil.

This "will drive up utility bills and increase housing costs", said minority leader of the New York Senate Robert Ortt.

Three in five homes in New York rely on natural gas for heating while only one in seven use electricity, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

New York was the sixth-largest natural gas consumer in the country in 2020, but a 2019 bill requires the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to 85% below 1990 levels before 2050.

While New York is the first state to pass legislation, California and Washington have used building codes as a way to advance electricity use over gas.

Meanwhile, as many as 20 states, like Arizona and Texas, have stopped their cities from enacting natural gas bans.

New York's ban could face legal challenges. A US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit recently struck down a gas ban in Berkeley, California.

Outside of the US, in 2018, the Dutch government implemented regulations to have all residential buildings off gas by 2050 to reduce emissions.

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