"A California city’s ordinance banning natural gas hookups in new buildings was toppled Monday by the Ninth Circuit, which said that the ordinance is preempted by federal law.
The panel’s decision was a win for the California Restaurant Association, which argued the Berkeley, Calif., ordinance was preempted by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. The city said the ordinance would help control emissions and “eliminate obsolete natural gas infrastructure.” But it effectively amounted to a ban on natural gas appliances, the CRA told the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
“Berkeley can’t bypass preemption by banning natural gas piping within buildings rather than banning natural gas products themselves,” the panel wrote.
The US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in July 2021 that it couldn’t read the EPCA to preempt the ordinance when the ordinance “does not directly regulate either the energy use or energy efficiency of covered appliances.” Berkeley’s ban on natural gas infrastructure in new buildings is “clearly outside the preemption provision of the EPCA,” the court said."