A coalition comprising New York businesses, workers, and unions has instigated a pioneering lawsuit against the New York State Department of State, striving to obstruct a state law prohibiting gas stoves in new structures from 2026 onwards.
The legislation, adopted as part of a budgetary agreement between Governor Kathy Hochul and Albany lawmakers, compels all new buildings under seven stories to stop using gas stoves and convert to full electric power by December 31, 2025, and larger structures to comply by a later, extended deadline of three years.
However, the coalition is firmly opposed, perceiving that the rule could significantly impact residents and local communities.
Their argument centers around the potential for companies to cease operations, downsize, or migrate to alternative states, ultimately posing a tangible threat to worker employment and the economy at large.
The lawsuit emphasizes that the gas stove ban mandate could also precipitate a surge in energy prices, heighten the existing housing affordability crisis, and exert additional pressure on an already heavily strained electrical grid.
Moreover, the lawsuit advances a legal argument that the state may not possess the requisite jurisdiction over the issue, asserting federal energy laws under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act may preempt it.
It parallels a case earlier this year where a federal appeals court unanimously overruled Berkeley, California’s gas ban because it was illegal and under federal purview.
In a statement, plaintiff attorney Sarah Jorgensen declared, “Our clients are strong supporters of the state’s climate goals, but the ban puts our clients and their members at risk,” further emphasizing the apparent impracticality and lack of affordability of imposing a gas ban amidst the existing pressure on New York’s electrical grid.
Jimmy Russo, President of the Plumbing Contractors Association on Long Island, mentioned that the mere anticipation of the gas stove banning law has already deterred new construction in the area.
Russo stated, “Hundreds of plumbers on Long Island rely on new construction to feed their families and pay their mortgages.”
He added that the law has “Basically ripped the rug out from underneath them.”
While fervent about achieving climate objectives, Russo articulated a plea for lawmakers, urging them to weigh the real-world consequences and consider the lives at stake amidst environmental policymaking.