A recent ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco invalidating Berkeley, California’s ban on natural gas within new building construction puts similar measures adopted around the country in legal jeopardy.
The court ruled that the ban is preempted by a federal law and is therefore illegal. Berkeley passed the country’s first ban on the use of natural gas in new buildings in 2019.
Around 100 jurisdictions across the country soon followed suit. Most require appliances like stoves and heaters to be electric.
The California Restaurant Association sued the city shortly after it passed the ordinance, claiming that it would damage the restaurant industry. The association argued that the ban would restrict their ability to prepare many of their offerings that require the use of specialized gas appliances including flame-seared meats, charred vegetables, or the use of intense heat from a flame under a wok.