The Plumbing Foundation Testifies at Hearing on Controversial Gas Ban Bill

On Wednesday, November 17, 2021, Executive Director April McIver testified among approximately 100 others at the NYC Council Committee on Environmental Protection Hearing on Intro. No. 2317, the gas ban bill.

Executive Director McIver testified that the bill, which seeks to ban natural gas hookups on new construction and major renovations beginning in 2024, is extremely vague and that the text can be interpreted to apply to a much broader universe of buildings, not just those doing gut renovations. In addition, she emphasized that the effective date of 2 years from passage is nonsensical in terms of the timeline of emissions goals in the NYC Climate Mobilization Act and NYS Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), especially given that the plan to meet those emissions targets is still being determined. Further, there is no cost impact study on either the state or city level.

Rather, Executive Director McIver said that the Council must take a common sense approach which must include: (1) wide-encompassing industry and stakeholder involvement; (2) a diversified and incremental approach to phasing out carbon-emitting energy sources; and (3) educational campaigns aimed at explaining the facts, science, and data behind that diversified approach. If the Council does not use a diversified and incremental approach to meet its own climate protection goals, it is inevitable that down the road stakeholders will return to another hearing on much-needed revisions to Intro. No. 2317.

Others testifying in opposition were the Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC), New York City District Council of Carpenters (NYCDCC), Plumbers Union Local No. 1 Training Center, American Petroleum Institute (API), Northeast Clean Heat and Power Initiative (NCHPI), Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), Real Estate Board of NY (REBNY), and Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater New York (BOMA). The main proponents of the bill included the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and environmental advocacy groups like New York Communities for Change, as well as a host of individuals. Numerous other organizations did not testify in support or opposition but rather submitted proposed revisions to the bill, including a phased-out timeline and more clear exceptions to the ban.

Click here to view the Plumbing Foundation’s written testimony.