New York governor Kathy Hochul on Thursday declared progress in her push to make her state the first in the nation to ban natural gas in new buildings, announcing a budget agreement that would mandate new buildings be “zero emissions” starting in 2025.
The state is “going to be the first state in the nation to advance zero emissions in new homes and buildings,” Hochul said during a speech at the State Capitol in Albany. If the budget passes, natural gas appliances will be banned in new small buildings by 2025 and large buildings by 2028.
“Our budget prioritizes nation-leading climate action that meets this moment with ambition and the commitment it demands,” Hochul said.
Hochul’s announcement comes just months after she and Democrats in the state legislature pledged support for the controversial policy. “We are taking these steps now because climate change remains the greatest threat to our planet, and to our children and grandchildren,” Hochul said in January.
It’s the latest move by Democrats to ban the use of natural gas and the appliances that rely on it. The Biden administration’s Energy Department is advancing regulations that would effectively ban roughly half of gas stoves on the market from being sold.
The controversy surrounding gas stove bans kicked off in January, when a Biden-appointed commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Richard Trumka Jr., floated banning gas stoves, citing a study by an environmental group that attributed 13 percent of U.S. childhood asthma cases to gas stoves.
Scientists later criticized the study. Facing backlash, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden would not support such a ban. The Washington Free Beacon reported in January that the group behind the now-infamous study worked with the Chinese government to push “an economy-wide transformation” away from gas and oil.
Climate activists not only want gas banned, but also argue the administration must change how it refers to the substance. A climate group recently demanded the Biden administration stop using the term “natural gas” because it sounds too climate friendly. The group, Gas Leaks, suggested saying “fossil gas” or “methane gas” instead.
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