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Wheatfield officials weigh in on proposed banishment of gas appliances

Fri, Mar 3rd 2023 07:00 am

By Lawrence J. Kaznica

The controversial riddance of gas appliances by 2025 for newly built homes, as proposed by New York state, has reached Wheatfield Town Hall.

Officials weighed in on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s ban on gas appliances during the last month’s Town Board meeting.

“All the public comment I’ve received has been negative. She is shooting from the hip,” said Supervisor Don MacSwan, who noted many Wheatfield residents survive on gas.

The state will prohibit the sale of gas heated equipment by 2030 for all residential buildings and by 2035 for larger buildings according to preliminary plans devised by New York state officials following the lead of California, which has already started the wheels in motion for reduced fossil fuel emissions.

Costs for residential home owners is still largely unknown. Potentially thousands of dollars for a conversion could cause sticker shock if state plans actually move forward.

“I think it’s ridiculous. It’s all politics. I don’t want to get rid of gas,” said Todd Brosius, operator of Bro’s Club House, a popular breakfast stop on Niagara Falls Boulevard.

The proposed plan for eliminating gas energy also includes converting oil boilers and propane systems to electric. Cash incentives of $500 for the change have been discussed at state levels, but nothing is drawn in concrete.

President Joe Biden has not given his full endorsement of the potentially life-changing switch-over to electric-only appliances, according to major media sources including CNN.

Local officials are miffed by the governor’s proposal, citing recent weather emergencies as to why the proposal is unrealistic.

“We were without power for 19 hours during the Christmas blizzard. We’ve seen other communities voice their disapproval. I don’t even know how residents could even afford any type of conversion,” said Wheatfield Town Councilman Larry Helwig, who passed a motion Feb. 16 expressing the town’s displeasure with the governor’s proposed plan.

As reported by nationwide studies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, gas stoves reportedly give off significant levels of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide, which, if not properly vented, causes dangers to people and the environment in general.

It is estimated 38% to 70% of American households utilize gas energy, depending on geographic regions in which gas is especially preferred in the winter-weather-beaten northeast.

MacSwan said he understands the reality of renewable energy, but wonders, “What would happen during a power outage?”

Other restaurant and market owners in Wheatfield refused to comment for this article, considering the controversial nature of the proposal.

Studies have indicated electric-powered appliances are growing more affordable – on par with gas-fueled equipment. Gas appliances are cheaper to operate, according to national reporting, by an upward of 30% savings.

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