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Chicago looking to prohibit natural gas in new construction, including gas stoves

The American Gas Association said a similar effort in Berkley, California, was recently shot down by a federal appellate court due to the plain text and structure of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which preempts state and local building codes concerning the energy use of natural gas appliances.

Published: January 25, 2024 5:01pm

(The Center Square) -

Chicago officials are looking at an ordinance that would effectively ban the use of natural gas in new buildings, which Mayor Brandon Johnson says would be a step forward. A legal challenge to a similar measure out of California recently was successful and the law was halted.

The Chicago ordinance, which will still need to be heard and voted on by the Chicago City Council, states that energy sources in new buildings would require a lower emissions threshold, which would limit the use of natural gas.

The switch would ban items such as gas stoves and other heating devices in new buildings.

Johnson said the switch would improve the lives of many.

"It is one of the most important policies we can pursue here in Chicago to reduce our climate change impact, and it's focused on new buildings," Johnson said. "This ordinance will improve safety and comfort for all."

The American Gas Association said a similar effort in Berkley, California, was recently shot down by a federal appellate court due to the plain text and structure of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which preempts state and local building codes concerning the energy use of natural gas appliances.

“Natural gas has been one of the primary drivers for achieving environmental progress, and any ban on this foundation fuel will saddle consumers with significant costs for little environmental gain," the association said. "The natural gas industry has led the way in reducing our nation’s emissions, and we will continue to innovate and advance technologies to help ensure Americans have access to the efficient and reliable energy they need and expect.”

Johnson said he wants to work with those involved to ensure a smooth transition to what he said is the future of Chicago.

"I am committed to an ongoing dialogue with all stakeholders to ensure that no one is left behind during this transition as we move away from fossil fuel use," Johnson said. "This ordinance is a step forward. We have to take it. We have to do it for our people and do it for the planet."

One of the main reasons for the switch is the effort to save people money and grow the city economy, he said.

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