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LANDMARK COURT DECISION AFFIRMS CONSUMER CHOICE

Written on: April 24, 2023

From the National Propane Gas Association Bobtail

On Monday, April 17, 2023, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the City of Berkeley, California’s ban on gas hookups in new buildings, finding that Berkeley’s ordinance was preempted by federal law. By banning new gas hookups, Berkeley’s now-overturned ban on gas piping into new buildings effectively prevented those appliances from using gas, but the federal government already governs the use of gas under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) and cities are not empowered to enact conflicting regulations. The panel’s unanimous decision that Berkeley’s ban on gas piping is preempted by EPCA sets an important precedent for future cases, especially with other cities and states considering restrictions on consumer energy choice. NPGA is examining how the decision will affect existing regulations in states that the Ninth Circuit covers (Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam, and Hawaii) and will continue to advocate against bans throughout the country. For more, read NPGA President Steve Kaminski’s Op-ed, view the legal summary in the Member Dashboard, or contact Director of Regulatory Affairs Kate Gaziano at kgaziano@npga.org with any questions.

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