A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Monday struck down a building code ordinance passed by Berkeley, California, which, with some exceptions, banned new residential and commercial buildings from installing methane gas piping. The three-judge panel comprised of one Reagan- and two Trump-appointed judges did not completely agree on the reasoning of the decision — with Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain explicitly admitting “I am not convinced that we have correctly followed the Supreme Court’s instructions” — but nevertheless ruled the city’s ban on methane gas lines into new buildings conflicted with federal appliance efficiency regulations.
Eight states, along with the federal government, sided with Berkeley, backing the ordinance which would reduce the amount of methane gas pollution in new buildings. The ruling, which is expected to be challenged, does not affect other municipalities’ building electrification policies that are structured differently from Berkeley’s. (AP, E&E News, Bloomberg Law, Reuters, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, OilPrice; Implications for other municipalities: E&E News)