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New York law to prohibit natural gas in most new builds

Safety and environmental concerns prompted New York lawmakers to ban the installation of natural gas in many new buildings starting in 2025.
New York law to prohibit natural gas in most new builds
Posted at 11:54 AM, May 04, 2023

New York lawmakers have included a provision in the state budget largely prohibiting natural gas from being installed in new buildings. The provision will be phased into New York law starting in 2025, starting with smaller buildings. The law applies to larger buildings starting in 2028.

The law does include some exceptions. New restaurants, hospitals and critical infrastructure will be exempt from the law. Buildings in locations where the electrical grid can’t handle the added load are also exempt. 

Lawmakers emphasized the law only applies to new builds, and existing structures can continue to use natural gas. 

“Changing the ways we make and use energy to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels will help ensure a healthier environment for us and our children,” New York House Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, said. “The provisions in this budget will help us do that and meet the ambitious climate goals we set in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.”

The use of natural gas in homes has become a hot-button issue since a Consumer Product Safety Commission member said the agency should consider new regulations. 

“This is a hidden hazard,” Richard Trumka Jr., an agency commissioner, told Bloomberg about gas stoves. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”

SEE MORE: US greenhouse pollution climbed in 2021, thanks to fossil fuel use

The CPSC later clarified. Patty Davis, a spokesperson for the CPSC, said in January no proposed actions are on the table.

Safety and environmental concerns over natural gas have prompted some groups to take action. Last month, Chipotle  announced it would not install gas stoves in 100 of its new locations being built in 2024. 

Eric Lebel, a senior scientist for PSE Health Energy, previously told Scripps News there are two main concerns that gas stoves pose. One is that stoves can emit methane gas, which is a potent greenhouse gas.

He said the other concern is that stoves can release harmful gases such as nitrogen oxide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, large doses of nitrogen oxide can cause dizziness. Long-term exposure can lead to infertility, the CDC said.

Although it does not appear that the federal government will move on a gas stove ban anytime soon, the city of Berkeley in California implemented a ban in 2019 on new restaurants from installing gas stoves. The ban, however, was stopped by a federal court last month after restaurants in California filed a lawsuit.

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