The Country's First Gas Stove Ban Has Been Overturned

Passed in 2019, the Berkeley Calif. law was found to be in violation of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

While the debate over gas stoves began to boil over in public this past January, the battle has been brewing since 2019 when Berkeley, Calif. banned gas hookups in newly constructed commercial or residential buildings. Months after the measure was approved, the California Restaurant Association filed a lawsuit, stating, “Natural gas appliances are crucial for restaurants to operate effectively and efficiently, as they allow for a wide variety of cuisines and innovations in the restaurant industry.” The lawsuit cited “flame-seared meats, charred vegetables, or the use of intense heat from a flame under a wok” as examples.

A gas stove in use

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The California ban was upheld in 2021 but overturned yesterday, as the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the ban to be in direct violation of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975. While Jot Condie, president of the restaurant association, celebrated the win by claiming that Berkeley’s ban was “an overreaching measure beyond the scope of any city,” environmental groups disagree.

“As we face a climate and air quality crisis from coast to coast, it is vital that cities and states maintain all legal pathways to protect public health, cut climate emissions, and increase safety by addressing pollution from buildings,” stated Matt Vespa, a senior attorney with Earthjustice.

Some federal lawmakers are petitioning the Consumer Product and Safety Commission to require gas stoves to be sold with range hoods for improved ventilation and to set up mandatory performance standards for them. The agency is currently requesting comments on the issue.

While Berkeley was the first to enact such a ban, dozens of other cities — including New York, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle — have since followed suit. Meanwhile, Arizona, Ohio, and Texas are enacting preemptive measures to prohibit local governments from banning natural gas appliances.

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