Minnesota progressives now seek to ban natural gas (including your stove) in residential and commercial buildings

Earlier this week, I discussed how 65 percent of the energy used in the homes of Minnesota families is natural gas for home heating, water heating, and cooking. Despite the importance of this fuel, progressive lawmakers in Minnesota are now seeking to ban natural gas through new building code regulations on residential and commercial buildings.

House File 772 would give the bureaucracy more power to regulate emissions from buildings. The older, deleted language governing state building codes has a strikethrough, and the new language is underlined:

(d) Notwithstanding paragraph (c), the [Department of Labor and Industry] commissioner shall act on each new model​ residential energy code and the new model commercial energy code in accordance with​ federal law for which the United States Department of Energy has issued an affirmative​ determination in compliance with United States Code, title 42, section 6833. The​ commissioner may adopt amendments prior to adoption of the new energy codes, as amended​ for use in Minnesota, to advance construction methods, technology, or materials, or, where​ necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public, or to improve the efficiency​ or use of a building mitigate the impact of climate change by increasing energy efficiency,​ improving resiliency, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions of new buildings and of​ existing buildings undergoing additions, alterations, and changes of use.

The operative phrase here is “mitigate the impact of climate change by…reducing greenhouse gas emissions of new buildings and existing buildings undergoing additions, alterations, and changes of use.” This language effectively opens the door for bureaucrats in St. Paul to ban natural gas in new and existing homes through building code changes.

There is really no other way to interpret this passage because according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), greenhouse gas emissions from businesses and homes arise primarily from fossil fuels burned for space heating, heating water, and cooking.

Furthermore, similar legislation that was passed last May in New York had nearly identical language as HF 772, which you can see below.

2.  Subdivision 2 of section 3-101 of the energy law, as amended by
     5  chapter 253 of the laws of 2013, is amended to read as follows:
     6    2. to encourage conservation of energy and to promote the clean energy
     7  and  climate  agenda,  including  but  not  limited  to  greenhouse  gas
     8  reduction,  set  forth within chapter one hundred six of the laws of two
     9  thousand nineteen, also known as the New York state  climate  leadership
    10  and  community  protection act, in the construction and operation of new
    11  commercial, industrial, agricultural and residential buildings,  and  in
    12  the  rehabilitation  of  existing  structures, through heating, cooling,
    13  ventilation, lighting, insulation and design techniques and the  use  of
    14  energy audits and life-cycle costing analysis;

Now New York’s Climate Action Plan for Buildings is already referencing this 2022 bill as justification for banning natural gas-fired systems:

Adopt regulations to end on-site emissions: [New York administrative agencies] should advance code provisions that prohibit fossil fuel combustion equipment for space conditioning, hot water, cooking, and appliances [emphasis added]. Until such codes are adopted statewide, NYSERDA should encourage local governments to adopt NYStretch Energy Code.

The war on your gas stove, water heater, and furnace is coming to Minnesota, and lawmakers are going to use the bureaucracy to enact rules and regulations that will eventually take these appliances away from you while pretending that the lawmakers who passed this legislation had nothing to do with it.