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Poll finds New Yorkers divided over gas stove ban

Pollsters revealed deep divisions along party lines over the changes, included in the $229 billion state budget, which will effectively ban propane heating, gas furnaces, or stoves in new construction.

Published: May 16, 2023 11:00pm

Updated: May 16, 2023 11:19pm

(The Center Square) -

New Yorkers are divided over the issue of banning gas stoves as Gov. Kathy Hochul moves ahead with plans to restrict fossil fuel-burning appliances in new buildings, according to a new poll.

The Siena College poll, released Monday, found 40% of voters support the state's recently approved requirement that new buildings under seven stories be zero-emissions starting in 2026 and larger buildings three years afterward, while 39% are opposed.

Pollsters revealed deep divisions along party lines over the changes, included in the $229 billion state budget, which will effectively ban propane heating, gas furnaces, or stoves in new construction.

The survey of 800 respondents between March 19-22 found Democrats are more likely to support the changes by a margin of 57% to 21%. Republicans, however, called the changes "bad" for the state, 66% to 19%, according to the poll. A plurality of independent voters, 49% to 26%, also opposed the new policy, pollsters said.

Gov. Kathy Hochul pushed for the changes as part of her budget proposal, arguing the move would improve public health and reduce the state's carbon footprint.

New York is among a small handful of states, including California and Washington state, that have taken steps to prohibit gas appliances as part of climate change policies. But New York is the first state to do so by passing legislation specifically banning fossil fuel appliances.

Republican lawmakers and conservative groups have criticized banning gas stoves as government overreach. They argue it penalizes consumers while doing little to blunt the impacts of climate change.

Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, said the proposed ban "has no basis in reality and will only drive up energy costs for millions of New York families."

Critics have also questioned the legality of gas stove bans, citing a recent federal Court of Appeals ruling that shot down a similar measure enacted by the city of Berkley, California, prohibiting gas hookups in new buildings. The three-judge panel ruled the city’s regulation is preempted by federal law.

More than 61% of American households used natural gas for either space heating, water heating or cooking in 2020, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

Despite that, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and World Health Organization says gas-burning stoves are "unsafe" and linked to respiratory illness like asthma, cardiovascular problems, cancer, and other health ailments, especially when not used with proper ventilation.

The Biden administration is weighing restrictions on fossil fuel-powered appliances as part of dual efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce childhood illnesses such as asthma.

New York Attorney General Letitia James was among 11 attorneys urging federal regulators to address the “public health and safety concerns” of gas stoves by setting new restrictions.

In a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the AGs called on the agency to develop “voluntary standards or mandatory regulations” to reduce “harmful pollutants from gas stoves that degrade indoor air quality.”

“Because these emissions occur indoors, concentrations of these pollutants can quickly increase to levels that are unsafe for human health — and which are particularly harmful to sensitive groups,” the AGs wrote. “Children are particularly susceptible to the health hazards associated with unvented or poorly vented gas stoves.”

The Siena Poll also found divisions among voters over other New York policy issues, including a plan to increase the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's payroll tax.

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