Kathy Hochul Proposes Ban on Natural Gas in New York’s New Builds

New York governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday called to ban natural gas heating and appliances in the state’s new buildings in an effort to fight climate change.

Hochul’s proposal, made during her state-of-the-state address, comes after a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission official sparked outcry by suggesting gas stoves might soon be banned over alleged health risks. However, commission chairman Alexander D. Hoehn-Saric issued a statement Wednesday saying the commission does not plan to ban the appliances.

Hochul’s focus, however, was on climate change when she proposed a ban on the use of fossil fuels by 2025 for newly built smaller structures and 2028 for larger ones. The proposal would also see the state ban the sale of new fossil-fuel heating systems beginning in 2030.

“Buildings are the largest source of emissions in our state, accounting for a third of our greenhouse gas output,” Hochul said.  

The Real Estate Board of New York trade association reacted to Hochul’s speech on Wednesday, telling Bloomberg News: “We look forward to working with City and State officials to develop a coordinated and achievable framework for advancing our shared objectives on this increasingly vital issue.”

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. previously told Bloomberg News the commission was set to open public comment on the dangers of gas stoves sometime this winter. He said the commission could set standards on emissions from the gas stoves, or even look to ban the manufacture or import of the appliances.

“This is a hidden hazard,” Trumka told the outlet. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”

However, the commission’s chairman disputed these claims.

“Over the past several days, there has been a lot of attention paid to gas stove emissions and to the Consumer Product Safety Commission,” Hoehn-Saric wrote in an official statement released Wednesday. “To be clear, I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.”

An academic journal article published last month found that 12.7 percent of childhood asthma cases were linked to its usage in households. However, the study was funded by RMI, an environmental group that aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 50 percent within the next seven years, and the study’s lead author is part of RMI’s Carbon-Free Buildings initiative.

The American Gas Association has challenged the study’s methodology. The study was not based on actual scientific research but was instead based on a mathematical formula that used information from previous studies and North America and Europe and data about the number of children living in homes with gas stoves from the American Housing Survey.

“The claims made…are derived from an advocacy-based mathematical exercise that doesn’t add any new science. The authors conducted no measurements or tests based on real-life appliance usage, emissions rates, or exposures, and did not adequately consider other factors that are known to contribute to asthma and other respiratory health outcomes,” the American Gas Association stated in an official release last week.

More from National Review