An ordinance that banned natural gas hookups in some new buildings in Berkeley, CA, was thrown out Monday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


Plaintiffs led by the California Restaurant Association (CRA) had argued in a lawsuit filed in August 2021 that the ordinance was preempted by the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) in CRA versus City of Berkeley, No. 21-16278. 

The CRA and groups supporting the case argued that the ordinance in fact amounted to a ban on natural gas appliances. The appeals court agreed.

“Berkley can’t bypass preemption by banning natural gas piping within buildings rather than banning natural gas products themselves,” the three-judge circuit panel unanimously wrote. 

“By its plain text and structure, EPCA’s...