Hochul’s all-electric building plan would ban gas stoves in new houses, not existing homes – syracuse.com

Gas stove flame. (Jim Pathe/Newark Star-Ledger)
Gov. Kathy Hochul, who wants to remove fossil fuels from buildings to fight climate change, unveiled proposed legislation Wednesday that lays out details and answers a question many have asked: What about cooking with gas?
In short, Hochul’s new bill would ban cooking equipment that uses natural gas or other fossil fuels, but only in new construction. People who already cook with gas could continue to do so indefinitely, even if they have to replace their existing stove someday.
Hochul’s all-electric building legislation, part of her sweeping state budget proposal, generally follows the plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions finalized in December by the state Climate Action Council.
Her proposal gradually eliminates fossil fuel-burning heating equipment from nearly all New York buildings, consistent with the Climate Action Council plan, but takes less aggressive steps to reduce the use of gas stoves.
The changes would begin in 2026. Here’s the timeline:
Dec. 31, 2025: Prohibit all equipment (including stoves) that burn fossil fuels in new construction of single-family homes or apartment buildings of three stories or less.
Dec. 31, 2028: Prohibit all fossil fuel-burning equipment (including stoves) in new construction of commercial buildings and multifamily structures of four stories or more.
Jan. 1, 2030: Prohibit installation of heating or hot water equipment (but not stoves) in any single-family home or apartment building of three stories or less.
Jan. 1, 2035: Prohibit installation of fossil fuel heating or hot water systems (but not stoves) in any commercial building or larger multifamily structure.
The legislation says certain buildings can be exempt from the prohibition on fossil fuel equipment, including restaurants and other commercial food establishments. Manufactured homes also would be exempt.
Other structures to be exempt are manufacturing facilities, laboratories, laundromats, hospitals and other medical facilities, and crematoria. The law also would allow fossil fuels to be used in backup generators.
Robert Howarth, an ecology professor from Cornell University who served on the Climate Action Council, said he didn’t think it made sense to exempt cook stoves from the ban on replacing fossil fuel equipment. The council had called for a ban on replacing gas stoves in 2035.
But gas stoves have become a political lightning rod in recent weeks. In response to studies linking gas stoves to health risks, including asthma, critics including some right-wing politicians have leaped to defend their use.
“I guess there is political pressure from the culture wars,’’ Howarth said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, for example, in unveiling his budget Wednesday, proposed to eliminate his state’s sales tax on gas stoves to encourage their use.
“They want your gas stove and we’re not going to let that happen,” DeSantis said.
If building electrification proceeds as Hochul envisions it, there may be no need to ban gas stoves legislatively. Gradually removing heating equipment from the natural gas system would vastly reduce the demand for gas, making it very expensive for the remaining customers to buy gas for cooking, Howarth said.
“It’s not going to be economical. You’re not going to be able to run your gas stove,’’ he said.
New York adopted legislation in 2019 that requires a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 40 % by 2030 and 85% by 2050. The push for building electrification is a key part of that effort.
State lawmakers considered similar legislation to electrify buildings last year but declined to pass it. The concept has strong support from many environmentalists, but opponents argue it could increase costs for homeowners and put too much strain on the electric power grid.
“It’s all still up in the air’' as to whether Hochul’s proposal will have enough support to pass the Senate and Assembly, said Rich Schrader, state policy and legislative director for the National Resources Defense Council.
“I think that there’s a lot more support this year than there was last year for all-electric buildings,’’ he said.
Read more
New York state’s move to all-electric homes: How expensive is it? Will it work?
Do you have a news tip or a story idea? Contact reporter Tim Knauss: email | Twitter | | 315-470-3023.
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