Prohibiting Natural Gas (methane) Infrastructure in New Buildings

Description: This adopted ordinance will prohibit installation of natural gas (methane) infrastructure in new buildings in the city of Berkeley, CA. The ordinance relies on police powers granted by the California Constitution to cities to legislate for the general welfare of their residents. Transport, leakage, and combustion of natural gas are considered threats to the general welfare due to the history of post-earthquake fires fed by gas leaks, the global warming potential of methane that in turn contributes to sea level rise and deteriorating climate, and the health risks associated with combustion of methane in enclosed spaces.

Substitute electric heating and cooling infrastructure in new buildings powered by cleaner electricity is linked to significantly lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is cost competitive because of the cost savings associated with all electric designs that avoid new gas infrastructure. Prohibiting installation of natural gas infrastructure results in elimination of associated GHG emissions in new buildings and reduces health and safety hazards produced by combustion and transport of natural gas.

Goal: Reduce carbon and methane emissions by prohibiting natural gas infrastructure in new buildings

Measurement: Percent decline in CO2e emissions from new buildings

Time to Implement: Estimated less than 1 year

Links:

Berkeley Ordinance Number 7,672-N.S.
https://berkeley.municipal.codes/BMC/12.80

Extensive Berkeley Background Materials: July 16, 2019 Transmittal to City Council
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wgxFGqLPB6sFWwb3KzwLJVC-06-Ujhkz/view?usp=sharing

Additional Information:

Local Governments Navigating the California Constitution
https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/Albuquerque1_-_Constitutional_Powers_of_Cities-MLI_Feb_8_2013.pdf

Berkeley Leads Nation as First City to Ban Gas in New Buildings
https://www.sierraclub.org/articles/2019/07/berkeley-leads-nation-first-city-ban-gas-new-buildings

Berkeley became the first US city to ban natural gas. Here’s what that may mean
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/23/berkeley-natural-gas-ban-environment

California’s Cities lead the Way to a Gas-Free Future
https://www.sierraclub.org/articles/2021/07/californias-cities-lead-way-gas-free-future

Court ruling upholding gas ban transforms U.S. fight
https://www.eenews.net/articles/court-ruling-upholding-gas-ban-transforms-u-s-fight/

Contact Info:

District Four City Councilmember Kate Harrison
City of Berkeley
(510) 981-7140

Sectors(s) Buildings
Region(s)
State(s)
Location(s)
Status
Date First Adopted July 16, 2019
Last Updated November 11, 2021
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