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War Of Words Erupts After New York City Council Votes To Ban Natural Gas From All New Construction Under 7 Stories

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The fight against climate change is coming to a building near you. Gas-powered stoves, space heaters and water boilers will soon be a thing of the past.

On Wednesday, the New York City Council voted to ban natural gas from all new construction and require electrical instead, CBS2's Jessica Moore reported.

Proponents and opponents of the new gas ban clashed outside City Hall.

Starting in 2023, natural gas hookups will be banned in all new construction under seven stories and replaced with electricity for heat and cooking.

"This bill was about prioritizing people over profits and over properties," said Councilwoman Alicka Ampry-Samuel, the bill's sponsor.

Ampry-Samuel said New Yorkers must take steps to fight climate change that scientists blame for mega-storms like Hurricane Ida and Superstorm Sandy.

"Sandy destroyed my home because of fracked gas that does not stay in the earth. It's adding to the climate change going on," storm victim Rachel Rivera said.

Proponents say the ban will significantly reduce the burning of fossil fuels, which drives climate change. Opponents say it'll cost thousands of jobs and could lead to city-wide blackouts.

"That'll be putting a dent in a lot of the workers in the city, could be leaving a lot of people out of work, because it's a major part of our work," plumber Jose Encarnacion said.

"Listen, we're not against climate control. We're all for it, but it has to be done at the right pace and we got to have a plan in place to do it," added Mike Capuzzo of Plumbers Local 1. "First thing, we don't know if the wires in the street are even big enough to handle it."

National Grid says it worries about strain on the power grid during winter months, and consumer analysts say they expect heating bills to rise significantly.

"Natural gas is our most abundant energy supply here in the United States, and to take that out of the equation, it's just a simple matter of supply and demand. Less energy available means the cost of energy goes up for everyone," said Mike Butler of the Consumer Energy Alliance.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the bill a historic step toward the goal of reaching carbon neutrality by the year 2050.

Developers negotiated a delay until 2027 for buildings taller than seven stories.

Other big cities like Seattle, Sacramento and Berkeley, California, have already passed natural gas bans on new construction.

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