California Restaurant Association and Berkeley Settle Gas Ban Lawsuit: Berkeley Will Not Enforce Its Ban
Berkeley will not enforce gas ban ordinance as the City Council takes steps to repeal it


March 22, 2024
Contact: Megan Gamble ▪

SACRAMENTO, CA – This week, the California Restaurant Association and the City of Berkeley entered into a settlement agreement halting enforcement of the City’s ban on natural gas piping as the City Council takes steps to repeal the ordinance in compliance with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruling earlier this year.

“We are encouraged that the City of Berkeley has agreed to take steps to repeal the ordinance, including immediate nonenforcement of the ban, to remain compliant with federal energy law. Every city and county in California that has passed a similar ordinance should follow their lead,” urged Jot Condie, president + CEO of the CRA.

“Climate change must be addressed, but piecemeal policies at the local level like bans on natural gas piping in new buildings or all-electric ordinances, which are preempted by federal energy laws, are not the answer,” Condie continued. “Cities must comply with the law.  Rather, the ban was passed with a disregard for available cooking technologies and ultimately for small businesses in the community that rely on gas-burning equipment for their cuisines.”

The settlement agreement was crafted in response to the April 2023 Ninth Circuit unanimous ruling that Berkeley’s ban on natural gas in buildings violates federal law, specifically the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.  The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for rehearing and issued a modified opinion on January 2, 2024, affirming that Berkeley’s ban (Ordinance No. 7,672-N.S., codified in Chapter 12.80 of the Berkeley Municipal Code) is preempted by federal law.  Cal. Rest. Ass’n v. City of Berkeley, 89 F.4th 1094 (9th Cir. 2024).

After the case was remanded to the District Court, Berkeley agreed to settle the case with the CRA by taking the steps necessary to repeal the ordinance.  Because the City’s process for passing legislation takes several months, the parties have agreed to put the case on hold to allow the City time to take the necessary action, at which point the case will be dismissed.  But starting immediately, in compliance with the Ninth Circuit decision, Berkeley will no longer enforce its gas ban.



About the CRA: The California Restaurant Association provides ultimate access to the resources and support that neighborhood restaurants need to lead thriving businesses while serving as conscientious, contributing members of an unparalleled industry. California is home to eating and drinking places that ring up more than $72 billion in sales and employ more than 1.4 million workers, making restaurants an indisputable driving force in the state’s economy.