The CRA to Appeal Court Decision on the Banning of Natural Gas Infrastructure in the City of Berkeley


SACRAMENTO – The California Restaurant Association’s lawsuit against the City of Berkeley’s natural gas ban was dismissed by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers, in the Northern District of California, on the grounds that federal law concerning the energy use of natural gas appliances does not cover local regulation of natural gas infrastructure. 

Berkeley’s ordinance prevents any natural gas piping in newly-constructed homes and restaurants in the city. The CRA filed the lawsuit in order to protect restaurant owners from being forced to operate out of buildings that had no natural gas available – a vital tool for cooking and creating many restaurant dishes and operating quickly and efficiently.

“Our fight to make sure restaurants have continued access to natural gas cooking will continue,” said Jot Condie, President and CEO of the California Restaurant Association.  “The judge’s decision confirms what we knew: we have standing in this case because of the obvious negative impact to restaurants that will result from the loss of cooking with natural gas stoves.  The court’s decision helpfully narrows the issues, bringing into clear focus whether local governments can nullify state and federal law on energy policy.”

“At a broader level, the court’s decision would be a dramatic shift in how energy policy is set in this country,” said the CRA’s attorney, Courtland Reichman of Reichman Jorgensen. “The complex energy regulatory framework, which balances a wide array of interests such as energy sources, addressing climate change, infrastructure, markets, and consumer needs is set at the national level in conjunction with the states.  Regardless of which administration is in the White House, its energy policy would be undermined if each of the thousands of cities and counties across the country can simply veto it.  EPCA preemption was intended to avoid such a patchwork system.  This is an important issue for the appellate courts to resolve as energy policy becomes increasingly critical in the U.S.”