© 2023 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Advocates push Hochul to include a ban on fossil fuels in new buildings in her 2022 budget

Toby Talbot

Environmental advocates joined state lawmakers on Tuesday to call on New York Governor Kathy Hochul to prioritize the ban of fossil fuels in new construction in her 2022 budget. This is after Hochul announced last week her support for a statewide ban by 2030.

Sonal Jessel, director of policy with WE ACT for Environmental Justice, said New Yorkers deserve to live in healthy housing.

“We all know the technology is there. We all know it's good for people’s health. We all know that it will build jobs. We all know that it is going to help push New York State into this fossil-free economy” said Jessel.

Bill Nowak, executive director of the New York Geothermal Energy Organization, said there is no reason to wait on a statewide natural gas and oil ban.

“Fossil fuels have no future in New York state. I can’t see any self-respecting business setting up their customers with obsolete heating and cooling systems at this point,” said Nowak.

Bills that ban natural gas in new construction have already been introduced in the state Legislature by Democratic Senator Brian Kavanaugh and Assemblywoman Emily Gallagher. The push for action comes weeks after New York City made history as the nation’s largest city to pass a fossil fuel ban.

“We are saying today to Governor Hochul — thank you, but now go further. It’s clear that you understand how dangerous it is to continue putting buildings with gas hook ups but we need to get in with the science,” Gallagher said, “Put the all Electric Buildings Act in your executive budget and show that New York can lead the way in the nation and the world.”

However, Republicans are dubious. Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY), a GOP gubernatorial frontrunner, criticized the proposal.

“Kathy Hochul is taking her cues from Bill de Blasio and proposing a statewide ban, which would mean no gas stoves, no gas heating and higher costs to provide adequate heat to buildings,” Zeldin said in a statement. “The last thing hardworking New York families need is a sky high utility bill, and this ban will be yet another punch to the gut for too many New Yorkers.”

Hochul is set to present her 2022 budget to the Legislature next week. New York would be the first state in the country to make this ban.

“New York is primed to make history as the first state to ban fossil fields in new buildings — all we need is for Governor Hochul to rise to the task,” said Food & Water Watch Senior New York Organizer Eric Weltman. “With a stroke of her pen she can cement New York as a leader.”

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.