It’s getting hot in the kitchen in the state of California.
The California Restaurant Association (CRA) has filed suit against the City of Berkeley following the city’s ban on natural gas infrastructure and the use of natural gas in newly constructed buildings, beginning Jan. 1, 2020.
The suit seeks to declare Berkeley Ordinance No. 7,672-N.S. void and unenforceable and to enjoin its enforcement, Kallanish Energy reports.
Berkeley was the first city in California to ban the use of natural gas in new buildings. There now are 13 cities and one county in California with similar ordinances.
In its complaint, the CRA states while many Californians have been sitting in the dark the past few months, as electric power has been shut off to large areas to reduce the risk of wildfires, the Berkeley ordinance “requiring ‘all-electric’ new buildings stands at odds with the need for a reliable, resilient, and affordable energy supply.”
The Berkeley ordinance conflicts with both federal and state law, is contrary to the public interest, and harms CRA and its members, according to the complaint.
“The Berkeley ordinance poses a severe threat to the Berkeley restaurant industry, as many restaurants use gas for their operations and for unique food preparation, including many types of international food,” said Courtland Reichman, lead counsel for the CRA and managing partner of Reichman Jorgensen LLP.
“Our client is a strong supporter of the state’s climate goals, but the natural gas ban puts our client and its members at risk, for little to no environmental benefit,” Reichman said.
“Berkeley’s rush to move to all-electric is one-sided and ill advised. With California’s energy grid under historic strain and electricity shutoffs affecting millions of people and businesses, now is not the time to put all of our eggs in the electric basket.”
The complaint alleges the ordinance is preempted by federal law and failed to follow state law procedures required to amend the California Building Standards Code and Energy Code.
The case is California Restaurant Association vs. City of Berkeley, case number 3:19-cv-07668, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
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