BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
Menlo Park, the first city in the area to pass an ordinance largely banning natural gas in new homes and businesses, has quietly stopped enforcing its rules, the Post learned Tuesday.
The city stopped enforcing its rules on new construction in October, according to Assistant City Manager Stephen Stolte. The pause comes after the Ninth Circuit ruling in the California Restaurant Association’s lawsuit against Berkeley.
The California Restaurant Association claimed the regulation violated federal law that gives the U.S. government authority to set energy-efficiency standards for appliances such as stoves, furnaces and water heaters.
In April, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court ruled in favor of the restaurant association’s lawsuit. On Jan. 2, the court denied Berkeley’s petition for the case to be reheard, which mean’s Berkeley’s law cannot be enforced.
Menlo Park’s ordinance began on Jan. 1, 2020, and required electric hookups in residential buildings with three stories or less and required apartment buildings taller than three stories and commercial buildings to be all-electric with some exceptions.
Since Menlo Park passed its ban, which is based on the state’s building code, versus Berkeley’s ban which used its police powers to ban natural gas hookups, many other cities in the area have approved similar ordinances.
Atherton, which approved a ban similar to Menlo Park’s will be discussing today whether to repeal its ban in the wake of the Ninth Circuit declining to take up Berkeley’s case.