ALBANY – A group of businesses and unions on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the state over a law that would ban the use of natural gas heat and appliances in most new buildings beginning in 2025 as part of an effort to combat climate change.

The statewide coalition, which includes the Plumbing Contractors Association of Long Island, argues that the state law that will require electric power in new buildings conflicts with the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act and that the federal statute overrules the state measure.

“Our clients are strong supporters of the state’s climate goals, but the ban puts our clients and their members at risk,” said the group’s attorney, Sarah Jorgensen. “A mandate banning gas now is not reasonable or affordable, when New York’s grid is already overburdened.”

There was no immediate comment from the state Attorney General’s Office, which defends the state, or Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday. A spokesman for the Department of State said the agency “is reviewing this matter and cannot comment on pending litigation.”

In May, the State Legislature and Hochul adopted a provision in the state budget that made New York the first state to adopt such as ban. The provision would prohibit fossil fuels in new buildings of seven stories or lower except for large commercial and industrial buildings by Dec. 21, 2025. All other new buildings would be subject to the ban by Dec. 31, 2028. There are exemptions for emergency backup and standby power, manufacturers, commercial food establishments such as restaurants, laboratories, car washes, laundromats, hospitals, crematoriums, agriculture buildings and critical infrastructure.

The law was applauded nationwide by environmental advocates who called it a major precedent for states in trying to stem the damage from global warming.

“New York’s landmark ban on fossil fuels in new buildings is a victory for our communities, health and climate,” said the Food & Water Watch, a national environmental advocate. “Efforts to reopen this done and dusted issue amount to nothing more than a last-ditch effort to keep fossil fuels relevant in a changing world. Governor Hochul must stand strong in the face of this archaic assault — our gas ban is here to stay.”

The group said the law will save residents and businesses money using clean electric power, will reduce pollution and improve public health by reducing triggers to respiratory ailments such as asthma.

The business and labor partners bringing the lawsuit cite a case won by the California Restaurant Association against the City of Berkeley in April, in which a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a city ordinance to eliminate old gas heaters and appliances was, in effect, a ban on natural gas appliances. The court ruled the city ordinance conflicted with the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

The New York lawsuit claims the state law would force businesses to cut workers or move out of the state rather than face what the group says would be the added expense of going electric, increasing energy prices, worsening the state’s housing shortage by discouraging building, and further burdening the electric power grid.

Hochul, however, said the measure is part of an effort to expand the state’s green industries and jobs that will dominate the world’s future economy.

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