In a concerning move by the Biden administration, a motion has been filed urging the reinstatement of a ban on natural gas hookups in new buildings in Berkeley, California. This latest development reveals the ongoing assault on American energy independence and the rights of local communities to address their own health and safety concerns.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, arguing that the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975 does not prohibit local elected officials from taking action to address health and safety issues. The court previously ruled that Berkeley’s law, which bans gas pipes in new construction, violated the EPCA.
But let’s take a step back and understand the implications of this alarming move. The Biden administration is essentially telling the people of Berkeley, and by extension all Americans, that their local leaders’ efforts to ensure health and safety are invalid and that the federal government knows best. This is a clear infringement on the rights of local communities to govern themselves and make decisions that are in their best interests.
The DOJ’s brief argues that the Berkeley ordinance indirectly affects the circumstances in which some products may be used in some locations. However, it fails to provide a compelling reason why this indirect effect should lead to preemption or why other health and safety ordinances wouldn’t face the same fate.
Back in April, the appeals court unanimously ruled that Berkeley’s law had the same effect as preempting federal home appliance regulations, which the EPCA prohibits. Judge Patrick Bumatay, in his opinion, pointed out that Berkeley’s ban on natural gas piping was simply a circuitous route to the same outcome of banning natural gas appliances in new buildings. It’s a classic case of overreach and circumvention of federal law.
It’s worth noting that Berkeley’s ban on natural gas hookups was driven by a misguided attempt to address climate change. While the intention may seem noble, the reality is that this ban is an infringement on the choices and freedoms of individuals and businesses. It places unnecessary burdens on homeowners and restaurants, restricting their ability to choose the energy sources that best suit their needs.
This case has far-reaching implications beyond Berkeley. Industry groups, including the American Gas Association and the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, have supported the California Restaurant Association (CRA) in challenging the ban. On the other hand, environmental groups and other jurisdictions, including the National League of Cities and cities like New York and Washington, D.C., have supported Berkeley’s ordinance.
It’s clear that this issue has become a battleground between those who value individual freedom, local governance, and a sensible approach to energy, and those who prioritize centralized control and a radical environmental agenda. The outcome of this case will have lasting consequences for communities across the country.
As Republicans, we must stand firm against these overreaching federal actions and support the rights of local communities to make their own decisions. We must reject the Biden administration’s assault on American energy and ensure that our voices are heard. The fight for freedom, liberty, and common-sense governance continues, and we must be unwavering in our commitment to these principles.
Source Fox News