(NewsNation) — The first state in the U.S. is nearing a decision to eliminate natural gas appliances from new buildings.
And everyone has an opinion: from advocates for consumer rights, to proponents of fiercer solutions to climate change, to the fossil fuel industry, to public health officials decrying the indoor pollution gas can cause.
New York state’s ban wouldn’t target stoves that already exist, but rather focus on appliances using fossil fuels — namely natural gas — in all new single-family homes starting in 2025.
This would be “effectively requiring (all new buildings) to use electric heating and stoves,” Politico reports.
According to federal data, around 38% of homes nationwide use a gas range cooktop or oven, but in New York, that number is almost doubled at 62%.
This would be the first state legislation enacting such a ban, although California and Washington have done something similar through building codes. And a number of cities, including New York City, have limited the use in new homes as well.
The move comes in response to growing evidence that gas appliances are a major source of carbon emissions while also being a source of pollution within the home. Researchers have identified more than 20 toxic chemicals emitted from their use, reports Vox.
“We should incentivize people to do things cleaner in their homes, figure out new technologies that clean up and utilize our resources better, rather than just cutting them all out together,” said Lucas Stritsman, who owns the small business Best Fire Hearth and Patio in Albany.
“Increasing costs of the homes is not going to encourage business here in New York state, it’s going to drive more of it out,” he said.
Still, just over half of New Yorkers don’t like the proposal, something that Republican lawmakers are stressing in their criticism of the bill. Namely, many point out that the lack of renewable energy currently available on electrical grids would render the move futile.
“The state’s imposition of a policy that just doesn’t make sense where we live,” Rep. Marc Molinaro, R-Binghamton, told the New York Post.
An alarming study published in the journal “Environmental Science & Technology” found that toxic chemicals and known carcinogens leak from gas stoves even when they’re not turned on. Another study found that approximately one in eight cases of asthma in U.S. children is attributable to gas stove emissions.
Researchers believe removing gas stoves from homes could prevent childhood asthma by up to 18.8% in New York alone. Gas stoves are used in a third of American households and businesses, and are a fraction of the cost of an electric range.
Whatever happens with this bill will set a precedent for the rest of the country.
“If New York state is able to pass a building electrification requirement at this scale, it will show other states around the country that this is not so scary,” climate researcher Amy Turner told Politico. “It’s politically possible, it’s technically possible.”