NY Natural Gas Law Faces Federal Lawsuit

New York’s recently enacted restrictions on the use of natural gas have invited a federal lawsuit. A number of organizations tied to construction and traditional fuels launched the suit against the New York Department of State this week in what could be a precedent against similar restrictions enacted in California.

National Association of Home Builders and the National Propane Gas Association filed the action, alleging that the state could not supersede federal law, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975.

“EPCA reflects Congress’s decision that the nation’s energy policy cannot be dictated by state and local governments,” reads the lawsuit. “Such a patchwork approach would be the antithesis of a national energy policy.”

The current New York State law was enacted in April and signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D). The changes would ban smaller buildings hooking up to natural gas in 2026, with larger buildings following two years later.

At the time, the governor cited the “effects of climate change — the storms, the hurricanes coming to New York, record snow amounts. We’re seeing the effects every single day. Not just here, but across the nation.”

She said that the state’s budget “prioritizes nation-leading climate action that meets this moment with ambition and the commitment it demands.”

The governor said that the state was aiming to be the first in the nation “to advance zero-emission new homes and buildings,” adding that the state had “more to do.”

New York’s actions have been similar to other environmental actions taken by other cities run by the Democratic Party.

Earlier this year, a federal court struck down a similar ban enacted by the city of Berkeley, California.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided in favor of the plaintiff, the California Restaurant Association, citing the same EPCA law.

“By completely prohibiting the installation of natural gas piping within newly constructed buildings, the City of Berkeley has waded into a domain preempted by Congress,” Judge Patrick Bumatay wrote.