Court Rules Against Berkeley’s Building Electrification Ordinance

Burnished reddish wooden gavel with matching sound block

On April 17, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Berkeley’s 2019 ordinance banning natural gas hookups in most new construction. Bad news, yes—but not a fatal blow to the rapidly growing movement to make buildings all-electric. The ruling does not affect many of the 77 building-electrification ordinances passed by California cities and counties in the last four years.

This Earth Justice article tells how municipalities can enact BE ordinances using legal frameworks other than the one Berkeley used.

The judges based their decision on the federal Energy Policy Conservation Act, which sets efficiency standards for appliances. State and local governments are prevented from passing any law that goes against these requirements—but does that rule even apply to the Berkeley ordinance? This article on UC’s Legal Planet website explains the ruling and raises key questions about it.

This court decision is not a game-changer—the movement to transition to all-electric buildings is unstoppable.

 Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash
This article first appeared in our May 2023 Newsletter

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