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Berkeley California abruptly reverses landmark decision to ban gas hookups: ‘We have ceased enforcement’

By Leslie Sattler

The city of Berkeley, California, is repealing its landmark ban on natural gas hookups in new buildings, according to the New York Times. The first-of-its-kind ordinance, passed in 2019, is being scrapped after a legal challenge from the California Restaurant Association.

What happened?
The groundbreaking law thrust Berkeley into the national spotlight and inspired over 140 other cities to phase out gas in new homes and buildings, as the Times detailed.However, those efforts now face an uncertain future amid pushback from the gas industry, restaurants, and builders.

The court battle ended in a settlement last week, with the city halting enforcement of the ordinance and vowing to officially undo the rule.

“To comply with the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, we have ceased enforcement of the gas ban,” said Berkeley’s city attorney, Farimah Brown, per the Times.

However, “Berkeley will continue to be a leader on climate action.”

Why is this policy reversal concerning?
Restrictions on gas hookups aim to tackle a key source of pollution: carbon burned in furnaces, water heaters, stoves, and other appliances.