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  • Writer's pictureAndre Watson

New York Governor Wants Ban on Fossil Fuels in New Buildings

Proposed Rules for Zero-Emission Construction Would Block Use of Gas Stoves

By: Andria Cheng

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to ban use of natural gas and other fossil fuels in new buildings. (New York governor's office)

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, in her State of the State address Tuesday, proposed banning natural gas and other fossil fuels in new buildings and ending the sale of any fossil-fuel-powered heating equipment.

Hochul is calling for zero-emission new construction to block the use of gas stoves and other on-site fossil fuel combustion by 2025 for smaller buildings, and by 2028 for larger buildings.

She also wants to ban the sale of any new fossil fuel heating equipment by 2030 for smaller buildings and 2035 for large buildings.

“Buildings are the largest source of emissions in our state, accounting for a third of our greenhouse gas output, as well as pollution that aggravates asthma and endangers our children,” she said.

Hochul’s proposals came as the state has a goal of reaching 70% renewable electricity and 40% economy-wide greenhouse gas reduction by 2030, zero-emissions electricity by 2040, and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by 2050.

New York isn’t the only state seeking to do without gas stoves and other fossil-fuel-run equipment. California, for instance, is said to also eye banning the sale of new natural gas-powered appliances by 2030.

Local governments have also announced similar moves. The New York City Council, for example, in late 2021 voted to ban gas hookups in new buildings.

Other states including Colorado and Washington have also passed measures that restrict building gas use while local governments in Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont have moved forward with similar restrictions, S&P Global Market Intelligence said in a June study.

Carbon Emissions Concern

Burning fossil fuels, primarily gas, for heating and cooking in homes and businesses contributes to a tenth of total U.S. carbon emissions, according to RMI, a nonprofit that pitches energy transition away from fossil fuels.

Ten states, led by New York and California, are responsible for 56% of direct building emissions nationally, RMI has said in a different report, citing U.S. Energy Information Administration data.

Hochul’s proposals came a day after an official at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission told Bloomberg News that it may consider a ban on gas stoves, citing worries about harmful indoor air pollutants released by the appliances.

As part of her State of the State, Hochul also is proposing what’s billed as “a cap-and-invest program” that was described as “nation-leading” to limit greenhouse emissions.

The plan would require big emitters to buy permits to sell polluting fuels with the revenue generated from that going toward “the clean energy transition” and other uses.

With the June 2022 end of 421-a tax exemption program looking to have sharply curtailed the number of multifamily building foundation applications, Hochul said she will work with the Legislature to develop a successor for the program to “stimulate” production of new rental housing.

“The reality is that we can't meet the demand for housing without an incentive program like 421a in New York City,” she said. “Without it, developers will only build condominiums or build elsewhere, which isn't the outcome we need.”

She also said the state is targeting the building of 800,000 new homes in the next decade.

The plan will involve requiring localities with rail stations run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to undertake a local rezoning or higher density multifamily development within half a mile of the station to expand housing potential in these transit-oriented communities.

Hochul and New York Mayor Eric Adams also have said they want to make it easier to convert office buildings to residential use.

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