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New York to enact first-in-the-nation state law ending gas in new buildings

Announcement of historic anti-pollution action would save money and save lives, but key details are unknown, including whether the gas lobby’s “poison pill” is included


Albany, N.Y. — Late night, last week, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the Legislature and the Governor have reached a framework for a state budget agreement including a historic deal to end the construction of new buildings that burn fossil fuels for heat and hot water. However, key details remain unknown, including whether the policy would include a “poison pill” provision backed by the oil and gas lobby, which would give local governments or other entities an effective veto over the policy. In response, a coalition of environmental and social justice groups backing the legislation released the following statement. The coalition includes Earthjustice, Food & Water Watch, New York Communities for Change, and NYPIRG: “At the precipice of global climate disaster, it’s long past time to stop building new buildings that burn fossil fuels for heat and hot water. Building all-electric will save New Yorkers money on energy bills, reduce climate-heating pollution, create jobs in clean energy, and reduce childhood asthma, a win-win for New Yorkers. It is also politically popular, with New Yorkers overwhelmingly in support. “On the verge of a final agreement setting historic action into place, Governor Hochul and the Legislature must not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by including the gas industry’s poison pill provision that could kneecap the law from the start. “While the announced policy would set in place a historic first state law ending gas in new construction, advocacy groups are disappointed that it would take effect too slowly to maximize benefits to New Yorkers, with a start date at the beginning of 2026, locking in higher bills and decades of new pollution from the 40,000 new homes that are constructed each year until 2026. “New Yorkers are watching carefully to make sure the final budget includes real action and doesn’t defer to the gas lobby. New Yorkers don’t want a big announcement that turns out to be a sham. “Taken on its face, this will be an enormous victory, but the devil is in the details. The coalition salutes the bill’s prime sponsors and its many supporters, and urges the three parties to get to a final deal that will set this historic win into place as the nation’s first state law ending gas in new construction.”

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