In a blow to California Democrats, a federal appeals court has overturned Berkeley’s groundbreaking ban on natural gas hookups in new buildings, ruling it violates federal law. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a California restaurant trade association, which argued that the city’s ordinance essentially bans gas appliances in contravention of a 1975 directive that grants Congress control over appliance restrictions.
The goal of the 2020 legislation in Berkeley was to minimize greenhouse gas emissions by prohibiting the installation of natural gas pipes in newly constructed or modified residential and commercial structures. However, the California Restaurant Association (CRA) argued that the legislation was illegal because it overstepped the authority granted to the federal government by the 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
#Progressive idiots banning natural gas do nothing but make life more expensive for everyone in order to virtue signal for the #ClimateScam. Fight these useless mandates every time. Court throws out Berkeley, California’s ban on natural gas https://t.co/LGsWqS9omb via @YahooNews
— Truth Seeker (@300yd6lb) April 18, 2023
While Berkeley lawmakers did not outright restrict the use of natural gas appliances, U.S. Circuit Judge Patrick Bumatay wrote for the three-judge panel that they effectively accomplished this goal “circuitously” by blocking gas pipelines, rendering “the gas appliances useless.”
The decision might set a precedent for future legal challenges to similar laws across the country, thus it has far-reaching effects. The administration will likely file a petition for review with the Supreme Court of the United States.
Democrats have been trying to hide their true motivations while ratcheting up their campaign to outlaw gas stoves. It looks like New York will be the first state to outlaw gas ranges. A similar statewide prohibition is being considered in California at the moment. The Energy Department is working to limit the sale of gas stoves, despite denials from the White House that Vice President Joe Biden backs a ban on them.
Conservative Reform California PAC chairman Carl DeMaio applauded the ruling, stating it would apply “to these mandates on new construction but also block the costly home retrofits that a number of cities and counties have been implementing.”
Proponents of the legislation, however, argue that the ruling does not apply to a select number of other California municipalities that have favored electricity over natural gas in their building rules.
Senior attorney at the charity Earthjustice Matt Vespa criticized the judgment, stating, “It is vital that cities and states maintain all legal pathways to protect public health, cut climate emissions, and increase safety by addressing pollution from buildings.”
The California Restaurant Association was worried that the restriction will hurt business for restaurants in the state, especially those that specialize in international food. The business association was concerned that the restriction was an indication of future measures to ban or restrict the use of natural gas in existing buildings, which would hurt eateries that utilize gas for certain cooking methods.
While the Biden administration has stated that a nationwide ban on gas stoves is not in the works, some federal lawmakers have called on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to address potential health risks through regulation, such as mandating performance standards or requiring gas stoves to be sold with range hoods for improved ventilation.
The court’s decision to strike down Berkeley’s prohibition has put the Democrats’ green energy campaign under the microscope nationally, despite the party’s best efforts to conceal its underlying motivations. This ruling has the potential to set a precedent for future challenges to laws that limit the use of gas appliances in other parts of the country.
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