Environment /

New York To Become First State To Ban Natural Gas Hookups In New Buildings

Activist groups want to ensure local governments cannot opt out of the new law

New York is set to become the first state in the nation to ban natural gas in new building constructions as part of a new $229 billion budget agreement struck between state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul.

While the proposal will not outright ban gas appliances, starting in 2026 natural gas hookups in new constructions or residential and commercial buildings under 7-stories high will be banned. State legislations are expected to vote on the proposal next week.

The new restrictions are being enacted to combat climate change by pushing the state’s new building construction sector toward zero-emissions, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

“I promised New Yorkers we’d make our state more affordable, more livable and safer, and this budget delivers on that promise,” Hochul said in the statement.

“Everyone knows we’ve seen the effects of climate change — the storms, the hurricanes coming to New York, record snow amounts. We’re seeing the effects every single day. Not just here, but across the nation,” Hochul told reporters during a press conference. “Our budget prioritizes nation-leading climate action that meets this moment with ambition and the commitment it demands.”

“We’re going to be the first state in the nation to advance zero-emission new homes and buildings beginning in 2025 for small buildings, 2028 for large buildings,” she added. “And we have more to do.”

The New York Times reported that environmental groups aren’t yet completely sold on the plan, worried it may contain a provision that could allow local authorities to veto the measure.

“The new law will not have any loopholes that will undermine the intent of this measure,” the Times quoted Katy Zielinski, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office, as saying. “There will not be any option for municipalities to opt out.”

Gas Free NY, an environmental activism group who supports gas stove bans, says that “burning gas and other fossil fuels produce a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions, which are the cause of climate change.”

The organization is one of the groups seeking to ensure local government cannot opt out of the state law once it passes.

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