This week Governor Hochul took a momentous step toward moving the state’s buildings off fossil fuels, championing both ending fossil fuels in newly constructed buildings and transitioning the state’s existing buildings away from our reliance on fracked gas. The move came days after the release of new research which found that gas stoves are responsible for 1 in 8 childhood asthma cases in the country. In New York state, the data goes further — almost 19% of all cases of childhood asthma can be attributed to the air pollution from gas stoves.
The move to ban fossil fuels in new construction is a key legislative priority of environmentalists and public health professionals alike. Last year, led by Concerned Health Professionals of New York, 18 public health, environmental health, patient advocacy, healthcare, nursing, and physician organizations called for the phaseout of fossil fuels in new construction from 2024-2027. Governor Hochul’s endorsement is also directly in line with her state climate plan just finalized in December by the New York’s Climate Action Council.
Unsurprisingly, the fossil fuel industry is spending big on a miseducation campaign, most recently highlighted in a sweeping expose in the New York Times of a massive effort from the Propane Education and Research Council to stop efforts to electrify buildings here in New York and around the country.
Biologist Sandra Steingraber, PhD, co-founder of Concerned Health Professionals of New York, released the following statement:
“Governor Hochul is right: we must move away from our reliance on setting fossil fuels on fire inside our homes and buildings. The science couldn’t be more clear. The simple truth is that burning gas inside our homes isn’t only wreaking havoc on our climate, it also turns our living spaces into tailpipes and makes us sick. We know fracked gas is dangerous — it’s high time to end the practice of igniting it inside our homes. We applaud Governor Hochul for her commitment to protect New Yorkers’ health and call on both houses of the legislature to come together and enact a ban on fossil fuels in new buildings now by passing the All-Electric Building Act in the state budget.”