Federal Court Rules AGAINST Berkeley's Gas Ban > Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)
April 20, 2023

Federal Court Rules AGAINST Berkeley's Gas Ban

On Monday, April 17, 2023, a federal appeals court ruled against Berkeley, California’s ban on installing natural gas piping into new home construction. The decision from the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit came on an appeal in the California Restaurant Association vs. City of Berkeley.


The case began when the city of Berkeley adopted a building code banning natural gas infrastructure in most new construction – the first U.S. city to do so. While the city argued that the ban was merely on natural gas piping, not on natural gas itself, the three-judge panel unanimously agreed with the California Restaurant Association that the action was preempted by Department of Energy regulations on gas appliances.  .  


In the opinion, Judge Patrick Bumatay penned that “by its plain text and structure, the [Energy Policy & Conservation] Act’s preemption provision encompasses building codes that regulate natural gas use by covered products. By preventing such appliances from using natural gas, the Berkeley building code did exactly that.” The decision reversed a District Court decision in favor of Berkeley and remanded the case for further proceedings.  


We anticipate there will be additional appeals, but this is a significant development that may impact other jurisdictions looking to curb natural gas use through building codes and other measures. HPBA – along with the Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute, the California Building Industries Association, the National Association Home Builders, and the National Association of Manufacturers – filed an amicus brief in support of the California Restaurant Association. 


HPBA will keep you updated with any additional news. 

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