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Legislation to ban new natural gas hookups in Illinois introduced in Springfield


(The Center Square) – There’s talk about banning natural gas in Illinois.

A Democratic lawmaker has introduced legislation that would ban natural gas in new buildings.

The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Celina Villanueva, D-Chicago, calls Senate Bill 3935 the Clean and Healthy Buildings Act.

“We must reduce pollution in our buildings and we must begin a managed transition away from dirty, expensive gas to more affordable clean energy solutions,” said Villanueva.

The subject has created a deep divide among Chicagoans after the idea was floated to the city council. Ald. Gilbert Villegas said it is much more expensive to heat a home with electricity.

“During the winter’s frigid temperatures, with tens of thousands of Chicagoans left without electricity, now is the worst possible time to hastily slam through an ordinance without examining true costs,” said Villegas.

Villegas added that a natural gas ban would cause the cost of electricity to spike, hurting low-income Illinoisans the most.

The first natural gas ban in the country was in California, but it was preempted by federal law, setting the stage for more legal fights around the country.

The city of Palo Alto, California, amended its building code to require that every new building be all electric. But the city has since rescinded the requirement in the wake of the Berkeley decision. It could be a precursor of more municipalities dropping similar all-electric requirements.

“Natural gas has been one of the primary drivers for achieving environmental progress, and any ban on this foundation fuel will saddle consumers with significant costs for little environmental gain,” said the American Gas Association in a statement.