"Berkeley’s Gas Ban Is All But Dead. What Does That Mean For Other Cities?"

"Despite another defeat in court, experts say cities still have plenty of options for electrifying buildings."

"On Tuesday, a federal appeals court decided not to revisit its earlier decision to strike down Berkeley, California’s first-in-the-nation gas ban in new buildings. The ruling dealt a blow to the city of Berkeley, which requested a rehearing after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ initial decision in April, and casts uncertainty over similar policies to electrify buildings in dozens of other cities.

In effect, the court simply chose to uphold its earlier judgment in April to invalidate Berkeley’s gas ban, legal experts told Grist. But unless the city of Berkeley chooses to appeal the case to the Supreme Court, the 9th Circuit’s judgment is now final. (The Berkeley city attorney’s office did not respond to a request for comment on its next steps in time for publication.) That means that for cities in the 9th Circuit region, which spans 11 western states and territories including California, Oregon, and Washington, local gas bans similar to Berkeley’s are no longer legal.

“For cities in the 9th Circuit that have laws that are modeled closely on the Berkeley ordinance, this is a door closing,” said Amy Turner, director of the Cities Climate Law Initiative at Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.

In 2019, Berkeley became the first city in the country to pass a ban on installing natural gas piping in new buildings, requiring all-electric appliances. Dozens of cities across the 9th Circuit region, including more than 70 in California alone, quickly followed suit, drafting new laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and indoor air pollution."

Akielly Hu reports for Grist January 5, 2024.

Source: Grist, 01/08/2024