The Wayne County Board of Supervisors is the latest local government body to express opposition to a proposal in New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s 2022-23 budget that would prohibit fossil fuel use in buildings in order to tackle climate change. The legislation, which follows the state Climate Action Council’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and 85% by 2050, is a key component of the council’s building electrification plan.
The proposal would begin impacting new construction projects in 2026, starting with single-family homes or apartment buildings of three stories or less. In 2028, the ban on fossil fuel-burning equipment, including stoves, would extend to new construction of commercial buildings and multifamily structures of four stories or more. In 2030, gas heating or hot-water equipment, but not stoves, would be prohibited in single-family homes or apartment buildings of three stories or less, and in 2035, the ban would apply to commercial buildings or larger multifamily structures, but stoves would still be permitted.
The Wayne County Board of Supervisors’ Government Operations Committee has approved a resolution that is expected to be adopted at the full board’s meeting on February 23. Similar resolutions have been adopted by other counties, such as Cattaraugus, but no such proposals are currently before legislators in other local counties, including Ontario, Seneca, and Yates.
According to draft documents, the resolution argues that the ban would be a burden on working-class residents and would have a devastating effect on restaurants, businesses, and manufacturing facilities that would have to convert to all-electric. However, the legislation does provide exemptions for certain buildings, such as restaurants and other commercial food establishments, as well as manufactured homes.
The resolution also claims that the conversion to electric would cost between $20,000 and $50,000 per household and would not include any backup system in case of a power outage.
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