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NEHPBA New York State Government Affairs Update

9 May 2023

First, the situation we were facing…..

In 2019, New York passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. This law set the bar for reducing GHG emissions, 40% of 1990 levels by 2030 and 85% by 2050. To achieve these goals, the governor and the legislators would need to implement and fund the action to get to these goals. There were many initiatives, but the ones proposed that would affect us were the following:

  • 2025 no sales of gas equipment to new home construction.
  • 2030 no sales of gas equipment to both new construction and replacement equipment for existing homes. In essence banning the use of gas and fossil fuels in New York going forward.

The final decisions on these proposals and the funding needed to implement these initiatives needed to be in the budget. The budget was negotiated, and the final decisions were passed on Tuesday evening. The NEHPBA government affairs team has been actively working at the capitol since January to help affect the initiatives hoping for something more workable for the hearth industry in New York as well as New Yorkers in general. Just like Washington, both sides were far to the extremes and very little desire to meet in the middle. 

So, what happened?

We had a small win on the gas ban in new construction. We got a 1-year reprieve. Instead of starting the gas ban for new construction on January 1, 2025, it now starts 1 year later January 1, 2026. Not really a win but we will take anything we can get. This gives us more time, and the governor is up for election in 2026.

The better win is on the 2030 initiative that would have banned the sale of gas equipment completely in 2030. This did not happen, and gas equipment sales will continue beyond 2030. Now is no time for complacency, believe me, the progressives are not going to settle for this, and they will keep pushing for a total ban. We need to keep up the fight.  In fact, we need to do much more going forward. 

NEHPBA is developing our strategy going forward which must include every stakeholder joining in the fight.

There was another bill in the legislature early this year, the All-Electric Buildings Act, which was far more aggressive. NEHPBA sent over 7,600 letters in opposition and was able to get this bill tabled for this session.

The original Fossil Fuel Ban language in the budget was also far more aggressive than what the Assembly and Senate settled on in the final budget vote. We also have hope that the recent 9th Circuit Federal Court decision that overturned the Berkley, CA gas ban may be of help in New York as well. 

NEHPBA has been actively participating in this process.

Since late January, Wayne Stritsman (Best Fire & Patio), has been working at the State Capitol talking with legislators, and this week Wayne, Joel Etter (HHT), Andrew Hasek (HHT) and I (NEHPBA), spent two days at the Albany State House meeting with legislators there as well as at dealer locations. We met with five legislative offices, both Assembly and Senate, on both sides of the aisle. We were very well received and had some great conversations. 

What came out of the meetings?

  1. We have sponsors for a Woodstove Changeout Program we’ll be writing and submitting for consideration from the legislature.
  2. We have sponsors for language for a Carve-Out for heating and cooking, where we’ll ask for the allowance of gas fireplaces and cookstoves.
  3. We have created relationships with many members on the Energy and Small Business Committees.
  4. Every legislator we met with understands that this bill will hurt small business, home builders, taxpayers and our industry and is willing to help us in our efforts for the above actions.
  5. I am more cautiously optimistic about the years to come than I was before these conversations.

We have a long way to go, but it remains that remodels and retrofits were left out of the gas ban language and all the legislators we met with were instrumental in the watered down, new language.

NEHPBA NY members, now is the time to keep your foot on the gas. If it hasn’t been on the gas, now is the time. NEHPBA is remaining vigilant in our determination to be part of this conversation in NY, and we’ve made a great start. There is an election next year in both the Assembly and the House. Term limits work when elections work properly-if people vote. The electorate in NY will be outraged at this legislation and the two bills we plan on writing will allow the New York legislators to back into this mess they’ve made. This gas ban was largely optics, New York progressives were anxious to be “The First State in the Nation” to legislatively ban natural gas, and they did that in form, not function.

Please participate in the NEHPBA Calls-to-Action, both in support of and in opposition to upcoming legislation. Share those Calls-to-Action with your circles.

Feel free to contact me with any questions at all.

Hope to see you all in June!

See all the pictures, and other advocacy efforts on the NEHPBA Facebook Page!

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