Court Throws Out City's Ban on Natural Gas

The rush to electrification through natural gas bans has hit a stumbling block, as a federal appeals court on Monday struck down the city of Berkeley's ordinance. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the California Restaurant Association, which argued the ordinance preempted federal energy regulations that give the U.S. government authority to set energy-efficiency standards for appliances. The decision was unanimous, but the three judges' opinions left plenty of room for further consideration, and the ruling is expected to be appealed. 

The California city's ordinance had been the first in the nation when it took effect in 2020, banning natural gas in new construction of residential and commercial buildings. Several other cities have begun to follow, with bans planned to take effect from coast to coast, with the intent of reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses. While the goals of electrification may be admirable, the consequences of proposed policies have not always been well-considered; for more information, BOMA recently released a Policy Brief on the topic.


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