This week, New York became the first state in the country to pass a law banning natural gas stoves and furnaces in most new buildings, The Washington Post reports. The move could help millions of households protect themselves from toxic gases.
On May 2, the New York legislature approved a $229 billion state budget that included a ban on gas-powered stoves, furnaces, and propane heating in most new homes and other construction across the state. The law requires all-electric cooking and heating in new buildings shorter than seven stories by 2026 and the same by 2029 for taller buildings.
Officials hope this law will encourage cleaner energy alternatives such as heat pumps and induction stoves.
The legislation comes at a key time. Homes and businesses accounted for nearly 11% of the planet-heating carbon air pollution released in the U.S. in 2021, but in New York, that number was a whopping 32%. The New York ban for new buildings, along with measures in other cities, will help slow the overheating of our planet.
And several scientific studies suggest that gas stoves are bad for people’s respiratory health, including evidence that they cause one in eight childhood asthma cases across the U.S.
Opponents of this ban argue that it restricts the consumer’s choices and will force higher utility bills onto households as gas is currently less expensive than electricity in the state. But proponents assert New York households won’t be immediately impacted by this law because it only affects new construction.
The new law will not affect existing buildings and allows exemptions for renovations, manufacturing facilities, restaurants, and hospitals.
“I want to be very clear. I know people love to misinterpret this, but people with existing gas stoves, you’re welcome to keep them,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said ahead of the vote, according to USA Today. “This is where our nation has to go eventually.”
The New York law comes months after a federal official set off a nationwide firestorm after making comments about a suggested federal ban on gas stoves. That ban, it seems, is not in the works.
But several cities and counties have already adopted laws against natural gas hookups in new buildings. Berkeley was the first U.S. city to pass a code banning natural gas hookups in new buildings in 2019, followed by San Francisco in 2020 and New York City in 2021.
Last year, Washington state approved building codes requiring heat pumps in most buildings rather than furnaces. Meanwhile, at least 20 states, including Texas, have blocked their cities from enacting similar gas hookup bans.“With all-electric construction, New York will forge the way to a green energy economy with better jobs, cheaper bills, and cleaner, healthier communities,” Alex Beauchamp, Food & Water Watch Northeast’s region director, wrote in a statement.
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