'Circuitous Route' | Off The Press


‘Circuitous Route’

Court Ends Berkeley's Gas Appliance End Run

  • A California federal appeals court on Monday overturned the city of Berkeley’s first-in-the-nation ban on natural gas lines in new buildings.
  • The unanimous ruling sided with restaurant owners who argued ordinance conflicts with federal laws on energy efficiency.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled the ban, which the city’s government passed in 2019 as part of its climate agenda, violated the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975.
  • “Instead of directly banning those appliances in new buildings, Berkeley took a more circuitous route to the same result,” Judge Patrick Bumatay wrote in the opinion. “It enacted a building code that prohibits natural gas piping into those buildings, rendering the gas appliances useless.”
  • By banning gas pipes in new building construction, the city essentially violated the federal law, which prevents local regulations on the energy use of natural gas appliances.
  • The ruling comes as the Energy Department continues to consider regulations curbing which types of natural gas stoves manufacturers can sell.
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