Article Source: USA Today
Photo Credit: Getty / Seiya Tabuchi
Gas stoves and furnaces will be banned from most new buildings in New York state under a new measure passed by lawmakers.
The provision, included in the state’s budget bill passed Tuesday night by the New York Legislature, begins phasing in next year. The measure prohibits the installation of fossil-fuel equipment in buildings of seven stories or less in 2026, with the ban for larger buildings starting in 2029.
“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 Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a statement.
Exempt buildings include hospitals, restaurants and buildings not fully supported by the electrical grid.
No existing buildings are affected.
“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,” Gov. Kathy Hochul told reporters Tuesday, ahead of the vote on the budget.
“This is where our nation has to go eventually,” Hochul said. “But I want to make sure that it’s not a bumpy road to the transition.”
Why is the banning of natural gas stoves and furnaces controversial?
The move to reduce the reliance on fossil fuel-burning appliances has been criticized by Republican officials as an infringement on consumer and homeowner rights. “Why shouldn’t people have a choice on how to heat their home?” asked New York Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, a Republican.
The New York state legislature’s action may reignite a political controversy over gas stoves that heated up earlier this year. That arose after U.S. Consumer Product Safety commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. said in January natural gas stoves are “a hidden hazard” and suggested unsafe products might be banned.
Trumka later walked back the statement saying, “CPSC isn’t coming for anyone’s gas stoves.”
But the issue quickly led some conservatives to raise the alarm that the Biden administration wanted to ban gas stoves. Among them were Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas, who tweeted: “I’ll NEVER give up my gas stove. If the maniacs in the White House come for my stove, they can pry it from my cold dead hands. COME AND TAKE IT!!” and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson who called the potential ban a “red line” Americans won’t tolerate.
“I would counsel mass disobedience in the face of tyranny in this case,” Carlson said.
Does the Biden Administration want to ban gas stoves?
No. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has been looking for ways to reduce indoor air quality hazards. “But to be clear, I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so,” CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric said back in January.
Why is New York state’s ban on natural gas stoves and furnaces important?
New York is the first to pass a state law banning gas appliances, but Washington state recently approved building codes requiring heat pumps, as opposed to furnaces, in most buildings. And two other states, Maryland and Colorado, along with more than 80 local governments, including many in California, have either approved or scheduled measures that will require new construction to be all-electric, according to the Building Decarbonization Coalition.
New York City’s own bill banning gas appliances in new buildings, which passed in 2021, starts phasing in next year.
What health hazards do gas stoves and furnaces cause?
Research has suggested gas stoves cause indoor air pollution and could be responsible for more than 12% of childhood asthma cases in the U.S., and could cause heart issues, cancer and other medical problems.
“New York State is leading the way in ending America’s devastating addiction to fossil fuels. The rest of the country must now catch up,” said Food & Water Watch Northeast Region Director Alex Beauchamp in a statement. “New York’s bold move to become the first state in the nation to prohibit fossil fuels in new construction is undeniably huge. … With all-electric construction, New York will forge the way to a green energy economy with better jobs, cheaper bills, and cleaner, healthier communities.”