No sooner had I submitted our comments opposing the Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy conservation standards for cooking products, then this gem came across my desk from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It relates to the very same law, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), that governs the DOE rule. I would have liked to refer to the ruling, but then again, it doesn’t matter, since it dropped from California just at the close of business deadline on the East Coast. The timing is quite delicious, as the proposed rule seeks to underhandedly ban natural gas stoves, likewise in violation of EPCA.
The ruling overturns the City of Berkley’s ban on natural gas hookups because the ordinance violates EPCA’s federal pre-emption of state and local laws regarding the energy use of natural gas appliances.
“The Act expressly preempts State and local regulations concerning the energy use of many natural gas appliances, including those used in household and restaurant kitchens. Instead of directly banning those appliances in new buildings, Berkeley took a more circuitous route to the same result and enacted a building code that prohibits natural gas piping into those buildings, rendering the gas appliances useless.”