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California Restaurants Sue Berkeley Over Nat Gas Ban

The California Restaurant Association (CRA) sued on Thursday the City of Berkeley over a ban on the use of natural gas in newly built buildings, in order to protect Berkeley’s businesses and consumers from having to pay higher energy bills.

In July, the city council in Berkeley, California, passed an ordinance requiring all new homes to be all-electric with no gas hook-ups beginning in January 2020. Berkeley’s primary motivation for the gas hook-up ban was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the use of clean energy.  

But according to the restaurant association in California, “the ban, which violates both state and federal law, will impact both residential and commercial construction, and will have uniquely negative impacts on restaurants.”  

The association argued in the lawsuit that not only is the city of Berkeley violating the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act and California’s Energy Code and Building Standards Code, but it is also acting irresponsibly by banning an option for Californian consumers.

“It’s impossible to overstate how irresponsible this is at a time when millions of Californians find themselves in the dark due to planned power outages. The citizens of California need reliable and affordable energy that allows them to choose what appliances they have in their homes and businesses,” Jot Condie, President and CEO of the California Restaurant Association, said.

“The CRA filed the lawsuit to protect Berkeley’s businesses and consumers from bearing the brunt of higher energy costs, as well as ensure the City’s vibrant culinary community is able to continue preparing and serving the food it has become well-known for,” the association said.

Berkeley City Attorney Farimah Faiz Brown told San Francisco Chronicle that the city is confident that its ban on natural gas in new buildings complies with all relevant acts and laws.

“The City will vigorously defend the ordinance against the California Restaurant Association’s lawsuit,” Brown added.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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