The New York State Legislature enacted a budget that “includes provisions to phase out the use of fossil fuels in new buildings,” announced Speaker Carl Heastie and Energy Committee Chair Didi Barrett.
New York is the first state in the nation to pass such a ban, which includes stoves, water heaters and furnaces in new buildings, through the legislative process, National Review reported.
Reporter Ryan Mills wrote:
Under pressure from environmentalists, New York lawmakers on Tuesday made their state the first in the nation to ban the use of natural gas and other fossil fuels for heating and cooking in most new buildings.
The ban on natural-gas appliances was part of a $229 billion state budget passed late Tuesday. The law requires all-electric appliances in new buildings shorter than seven stories by 2026 and in taller new construction by 2029.
The announcement stated that the budget provision “will help New York State transition away from fossil fuel consumption by phasing in requirements for electric construction.” It stipulates, “Existing buildings and appliances will not be affected by this legislation.”
Spectrum News 1, a cable news outlet in central New York, reported that the activist group Earthjustice was delighted by the plan, which “‘exceeded expectations’ by attacking green house gas emissions from buildings.
Earthjustice, founded in 1971, describes itself this way:
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit public interest environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change.
We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer (their emphasis).
Earthjustice policy advocate Liz Moran told Spectrum News 1:
The building sector in New York state is our largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, our largest source of climate pollution in the state. It’s really important to tackle those emissions not only to meet New York’s climate law mandates, but also to send an important message out to the nation.
In 2019, New York passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. According to the state website:
New York State’s Climate Act is among the most ambitious climate laws in the nation and requires New York to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and no less than 85 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels.
When the measure passed, The New York Times reported the mandate might drive up costs for electricity, explaining:
The bill requires New York to get 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar and hydropower by 2030 and shift entirely to carbon-free power a decade later.
While New York is the first state to pass such a measure, Stateline reported,
Since 2019, Washington state and roughly 90 local governments also have moved to phase out natural gas and other fossil fuels in many new structures, according to the Building Decarbonization Coalition, which advocates for state electrification policies.
But not all states are rushing to ban fossil fuels, the news outlet said:
In that same period, however, 23 states have enacted “energy choice” laws that prevent state and local governments from regulating energy sources for businesses and homes. Last month, Idaho, North Dakota and South Dakota became the latest states to pass such natural gas preemption laws, and Montana is poised to adopt similar legislation.
In January, the Daily Citizen wrote about a possible federal push to ban gas stoves: “Due to concerns about indoor pollutants and their effect on health issues, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that it is considering a ban on natural gas stoves.”
The federal agency later backtracked on the idea. But banning the use of fossil fuels is still a priority for left-leaning activist groups, government agencies, and local, state and federal politicians.
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