New York Declares War on Gas | Citizens Against Government Waste

New York Declares War on Gas

The WasteWatcher

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) multi-year effort to spend tens of billions of dollars on climate initiatives, including banning fossil fuel use in the Empire State, has taken another step toward fruition.  On May 2, 2023, Gov. Hochul signed a state budget banning the use of natural gas in residential buildings constructed after 2026.  Under the ban, newly constructed residential buildings will be required to use only electricity for heating and cooking.

New York’s natural gas ban makes the state the first in the nation to ban the use of natural gas.  Numerous cities across the country have already adopted, or attempted to adopt, similar measures.  In 2021, the New York City Council passed a similar measure that would expand to buildings over seven stories in 2027, two years ahead of the statewide schedule.  An effort to ban the use of natural gas in new residential buildings in Berkeley, California, was struck down on April 22, 2023, by a panel of judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.   Berkeley’s law, the judges ruled, was preempted by the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which bars state and local governments from imposing regulations on the use of natural gas.

In a statement praising the ban, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) highlighted the move as an essential part of implementing the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.  It set a goal to reduce carbon emissions in the state by 40 percent by 2030.  

The natural gas ban comes after a year in which American across the country suffered from the highest gas prices in history, causing many families to have to choose between shopping for food or filling up their cars and heating their homes.  Ending the use natural gas puts consumers at even greater risk of increased energy prices and diminished services.  Government-ordered shifts away from natural gas without a viable alternative will do far more harm than good, particularly for lower-income New Yorkers without the ability to pay the increased cost of green energy sources.

Between Gov. Hochul’s ban on natural gas in new residential buildings and California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) efforts to ban gas powered lawn equipment and fossil-fuel powered vehicles, the two coastal states are engaging in a green energy arms race that will have devastating consequences on their residents and economy and likely hasten the massive exodus of people to states with lower taxes and less burdensome regulations.  New York has also taken advantage of California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act to adopt the latter state’s ban on the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.  A statewide natural gas ban puts the Empire State temporarily ahead of the Golden State in the race to eradicate fossil fuels.

New York’s gas ban in new residential buildings places a desire to score progressive policy victories over the needs of consumers and taxpayers.  If the state continues to move in this direction, residents may soon be sitting around campfires to keep warm in the cold weather, and waving fans at each other to stay cool in the summer.