New York Passes First Ban on New Natural Gas in Buildings

May 3, 2023

We didn’t leave the stone age because we ran out of stones.

Washington Post:

New York has become the first state in the nation to pass a law banning natural gas and other fossil fuels in most new buildings, a move that could inspire other states and further erode the residential future for the gas industry.

Late Tuesday night, the New York legislature approved a $229 billion state budget that included a prohibition on gas in most new homes and other construction. It was a major victory for climate activists, but one that will likely face a court challenge from fossil fuel interests.

The law effectively requires all-electric heating and cooking in new buildings shorter than seven stories by 2026, and in 2029 for taller buildings. And although it allows exemptions for manufacturing facilities, restaurants, hospitals and even car washes, the measure does not do what some climate activists had feared: give cities and counties license to override the ban.

Since the beginning of this year, when a federal official suggested, and then quickly retracted, the idea that the government might ban gas stoves, debate over the future of natural gas has flared. So it may seem surprising that as New York lawmakers headed into the final stretch of their budget talks this week, their plans to pass a statewide gas ban were essentially a foregone conclusion.

But Democrats, who control both the New York Senate and Assembly, have faced pressure from environmentalists to follow through on the state’s climate commitments for several years. And in the end, it was not negotiations over gas stoves that stirred controversy, but a drawn out fight over bail reform and housing policy that delayed approval of the budget by a month.

The law’s passage, and the approval of another measure that would require the state to build renewable energy when the private sector falls short, have fueled supporters’ hope that New York could become a national model.


One Response to “New York Passes First Ban on New Natural Gas in Buildings”

  1. jimbills Says:

    “We didn’t leave the stone age because we ran out of stones.”

    I can’t be the only one that finds that saying grating. I’m not going to argue that it’s false, but we didn’t live on a planet with 8 billion people and a highly economically complex society in the stone age. It’s a simplistic saying, at least. It takes time to move the entire economy – decades at best, when we really don’t have that time to offset major impacts.

    Good for New York. It’s unlikely that the Southern states will take NY as a model for anything any time soon, however.

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