- A growing number of states and cities are considering or implementing bans on natural gas hookups in new buildings, a move that would raise costs for consumers and potentially have negative environmental consequences, natural gas advocates told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- Minnesota lawmakers introduced legislation Wednesday that would authorize state regulators to amend the state’s energy code to “mitigate the impact of climate change,” which could be used to justify a natural gas ban, according to the Minnesota think-tank Center of the American Experiment.
- “Any push to ban natural gas would raise costs to consumers, jeopardize environmental progress and deny affordable energy to underserved populations,” Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the American Gas Association, told the DCNF.
A growing number of states and cities are considering or implementing bans for the future construction of not just gas stoves, but natural gas hookups themselves, a move that would raise costs for consumers and potentially have negative environmental consequences, natural gas advocates told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Lawmakers in the state of Minnesota introduced legislation Wednesday that would permit the state’s Commissioner of Labor and Industry to amend the state’s energy code to “mitigate the impact of climate change,” a directive that could be used to justify a ban on natural gas, according to the free-market Minnesota think-tank Center of the American Experiment. California and New York are weighing statewide bans which would not only increase costs, but may not have the climate benefits advocates hope for, Dan Kish, senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research told the DCNF.
“Natural gas is our cleanest fossil [fuel] and it is responsible for the U.S. reducing carbon dioxide emissions more than other country, largely because we have centuries of the stuff.” Kish told the DCNF. “God blessed North America with enormous energy wealth, and our only impediment is power-hungry politicians who want to make energy more expensive and more foreign, while bossing Americans around by telling them how to heat their homes and what kind of car they can drive.”
Roughly half of all homes in the U.S. use natural gas for space and water heating, accounting for about 15% of all natural gas consumption in the U.S., according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Space heating with natural gas tends to be far cheaper than all-electric systems because they are more energy efficient, according to Seattle-based HVAC firm Evergreen Home Heating and Energy.
The issue of natural gas bans gained national prominence after news broke that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) was considering banning gas stoves nationwide amid concerns that the pollutants produced by the stoves may have harmful effects. Yet, the study that these concerns are based on was partly funded by a pair of activist groups that advocate for the electrification of appliances.
The city of Eugene, Oregon, became the first in the state to institute a ban on new natural gas hookups on Monday, according to the Associated Press. City Council members cited a desire to reduce the city’s carbon footprint and eliminate health hazards as primary reasons behind the new ban, which impacts all new residential buildings that are three stories or less.
The language in the proposed Minnesota bill mirrors legislation passed in May 2022 in New York, which enabled regulators to make updates to the state energy code to promote “clean energy” and “efficiency standards for appliances.” This New York statute was justification for the state’s Climate Action Council December proposal to change the New York energy code to effectively ban gas hookups in new buildings, the Center of the American Experiment reported.
“For me, the health effects are now just as important as the climate effects,” Mayor Lisa Batey of Milwaukie, Oregon, said regarding a potential ban on natural gas hookups in her own city, according to local CBS affiliate KOIN. “I am actually looking at taking my gas stove out and replacing it with an induction stove.”
While many cities in the state have already issued bans on gas hookups, California legislators are moving towards a statewide ban on gas-powered furnaces and water heaters by 2030, according to Bloomberg.
On Jan. 10, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul called for the state to become the first to implement a statewide ban on natural gas hookups, according to E&E News. Under Hochul’s proposed plan, new residential and commercial buildings would be all-electric by 2025 and 2030, respectively, while gas sales to existing residential and commercial buildings would be halted by 2030 and 2035, respectively.
A group of 20 states, mostly Republican, have issued laws that ban cities from implementing restrictions on natural gas, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental activism group. Four states have introduced, but not yet passed, similar legislation.
“Natural gas has been one of the principal drivers to achieving our nation’s environmental and economic goals. From providing affordable energy to consumers to driving down emissions, the benefits this fuel has for our nation are tangible and impossible to ignore,” Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the American Gas Association, told the DCNF. “Any push to ban natural gas would raise costs to consumers, jeopardize environmental progress and deny affordable energy to underserved populations.”
The Department of Energy proposed a rule on Feb. 1 that would more restrictive energy efficiency standards for newly manufactured gas stoves. On Dec. 14, the Biden administration hosted the White House Electrification Summit, where the administration announced a Home Electrification Prize through the Department of Energy to “fund innovative solutions to make it easier to efficiently retrofit our homes” with electrical heating to improve indoor air quality.
The Biden administration has denied that it is planning to ban gas stoves, according to CNN. CSPC Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. had previously said that “any option was on the table,” and that “products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”
Democratic Rep. Larry Kraft of the Minnesota House, who co-authored the proposed legislation, did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.
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