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City poised to ban gas in new construction

New York City is set to ban the use of gas in new construction.

Negotiations for legislation banning gas hookups in new buildings by limiting carbon emissions concluded late last night, with a final version of the bill slated to be voted on by the City Council next week.

The legislation is sponsored by Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel of Brooklyn and has 26 co-sponsors. Mayor de Blasio supports the legislation as does Speaker Johnson.

The bill, Introduction 2317, ends gas use in small buildings under seven stories tall in two years (2023), starting on new permit applications, and ends gas use in large buildings over seven stories in five years (2027).

The #GasFreeNYC coalition, led by New York Communities for Change, NYPIRG, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and Food & Water Watch, championed the gas ban legislation.

In a statement, the group said, “The nation’s largest city is about to end gas hookups in new buildings and set a big precedent for other cities and states to follow.

“As climate action stalls at the federal and international level, New York City is leading the way on fighting climate change, cutting air pollution, and creating good jobs. The evidence is clear: an immediate shift to requiring gas-free buildings is both feasible and necessary. We have the technology and the skills to build all-electric buildings, many of which are already built or under construction across the city.”

The coalition lauded the effort of Council Member Ampry-Samuel, who introduced the bill, Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson, adding, “Most of all we thank the activists, organizations, and experts who made this pioneering victory possible. We call on the City Council to pass Introduction 2317 and officially end the use of gas in new construction.

“The devastation caused by Hurricane Ida in New York City this year was a painful reminder that delaying climate action is lethal for New Yorkers. Additionally, this legislation will prevent the use of future gas infrastructure in homes that contributes to poor air quality and therefore causes respiratory and cardiovascular illness.”

GasFreeNYC is calling on the state legislature and Governor Hochul to pass the fossil-free building legislation introduced by Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assembly Member Emily Gallagher, which would end fossil fuel use in new construction in one year for all of New York State.

REBNY president James Whelan commented, “The real estate industry is committed to working with policymakers to develop proven policies that meaningfully reduce carbon emissions from the built environment. While we appreciate that the efficient electrification of buildings is an important component of realizing these goals, these policies must be implemented in a way that ensure that New Yorkers have reliable, affordable, carbon-free electricity to heat, cool and power their homes and businesses. We look forward to continuing to advocate for policies that will effectively balance these goals.”

“The New York Building Congress remains committed to advancing policies that combat the root causes of climate change and help New York adapt to its inevitable effects,” said a spokesperson for the New York Building Congress.

“That commitment to a sustainable future drove us to work with the City Council to shape this legislation with targets that are as pragmatic as they are bold. The new draft of this legislation addresses our concerns about the timeline that affects new buildings and calls on experts to determine what technologies could feasibly make the city’s power systems compliant, reliable and resilient. Its passage is crucial, so that our industry can innovate and develop new solutions to make New York City the leader on sustainability. This bill only underscores New York State’s immediate need to clear the transmission bottleneck between clean energy generated upstate and demand downstate. The City of New York must also realize the study mandated under this bill, so that our members have a clear framework on how to maximize this legislation’s full potential.”

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