In a ruling on Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit tossed out a ban on gas stoves in Berkeley, California.
The court cited the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act as pre-empting state and local authorities from regulating natural gas, according to the Courthouse News Service. The ban, which had been instituted in the San Francisco Bay Area city, was challenged by the California Restaurant Association on the grounds that it would hamper chefs' ability to prepare food as they were trained to do — using natural gas stoves.
Donald Trump appointee U.S. Circuit Judge Patrick Bumatay, writing for the three-judge panel that made the decision, said, "States and localities can't skirt the text of broad preemption provisions by doing indirectly what Congress says they can't do directly. Berkeley can't evade preemption by merely moving up one step in the energy chain and banning natural gas piping within those buildings."
Conservative groups, including Reform California, welcomed the ruling, with chair Carl DeMaio saying, "We are thrilled with the 9th Circuit Court decision because this decision not only will apply to these mandates on new construction, but will also block the costly home retrofits that a number of cities and counties have been implementing."
The Ninth Circuit's decision could have implications beyond the city of Berkeley, potentially impacting other cities and states that have sought to limit the use of natural gas. It remains to be seen how the Biden administration will respond to the ruling and whether it will seek to continue its efforts to reduce the use of gas stoves.
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