Mayor Daniel Biss and several council members are proposing that Evanston ban gas hookups for new homes, apartments and commercial structures.
They claim the move is necessary to meet the city’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan goals.
The City Council’s Referrals Committee has directed the Environment Board to evaluate the concept and prepare a recommendation for City Council action by the end of March.
In making the referral, Biss noted that he has not yet discussed the idea with developers or other real estate interests.
Alds. Krissie Harris (2nd), Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th), Eleanor Revelle (7th) and Devon Reid (8th) joined the mayor in backing the referral.
The issue of gas stoves flared into national attention last week when Richard Trumpka Jr., a member of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, suggested the federal government might ban gas stoves as a health hazard — prompting outraged responses from fans of the appliances.
Berkeley, California, became the first U.S. city to ban natural gas hookups in new buildings in July 2019, a measure that was challenged by the California Restaurant Association, in a case that is still awaiting a ruling from a federal appeals court.
In the meantime dozens of other communities, including New York City have enacted similar bans, while more than 20 states have adopted measures prohibiting their municipalities from enacting such restrictions.
While much of the recent controversy has involved gas versus electric ranges, the greater environmental impact of the hookup ban would be to force a shift from gas furnaces to electric heat pumps or other solutions for heating new buildings.