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Kavanagh, Gallagher introduce bill mandating all-electric buildings in NYS

November 1, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Two Brooklyn state legislators, State Sen. Brian Kavanagh (North Brooklyn waterfront area-Lower Manhattan) and Assemblymember Emily Gallagher (D-Greenpoint-Williamsburg-Navy Yard area), at a City Hall news conference on Monday, announced the introduction of State Senate Bill S6843, the “All-Electric Building Act.”

The bill prohibits municipalities throughout the state from issuing any new permits for the construction of new gas-powered buildings after 2023 and conversions of existing buildings after 2022, with some exceptions if there are no feasible alternatives for a particular project. 

The official summary that’s part of the bill says it “provides that no city, town or village shall issue a permit for the construction of new buildings that are not an all-electric building if the initial application for a permit was submitted after December 31, 2023 unless certain circumstances apply.”

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State Sen. Brian Kavanagh. Photo courtesy of Kavanagh’s office

Kavanagh, chair of the Senate Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development, said, “If we are serious about reducing the harmful effects of climate change, then we must take aggressive action to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in all sectors of our society and economy, including construction projects.” 

Buildings account for 28 percent of the United States’ energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, according to the two legislators, who quoted federal figures.

Among the organizations supporting the bill are the New York League of Conservation Voters, Sane Energy Project, Sierra Club, the Renewable Heat Now Coalition, WE ACT for Environmental Justice and the Alliance for a Green Economy.”

Assemblymember Emily Gallagher. Photo courtesy of NYS Assembly

The state has already launched several pilot projects geared at ramping up electrification, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. 

For example, the Clean Energy Initiative seeks to create 600 energy-efficient, all-electric affordable housing units. In addition, the Low Carbon Pathways for Multifamily Buildings program is making $7.8 million available for owners or managers of multifamily buildings to implement “low-carbon solutions” as part of planned upgrades.

The city of Berkeley became the first in the country, in 2020, to ban new natural gas hookups. 

Support for such a bill may not be universal, however. For example, Pennsylvania’s State Senate last month approved legislation that would bar municipalities from adopting building codes that prohibit gas hookups. The Marcellus Shale gas reservoir beneath that state is the nation’s most prolific natural gas reservoir.

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