He added that Berkeley’s ordinance both supports California’s statewide framework to move to 100% carbon-free energy by 2045 and aligns with the city’s public health goals. The environmentalists’ letter refers to a study that showed children who grow up in homes with gas stoves are 42% more likely to develop asthma than children who don’t.
While environmental organizations claim that all-electric construction will make homes and businesses more affordable, the California Restaurant Association contends that the gas ban will raise the cost of building and operating restaurants at the same time it limits consumers’ appliance choices.
In an emailed statement, Jot Condie, president and CEO of the California Restaurant Association, said that while his organization supports California’s climate goals, declining to sue over the Berkeley ordinance would amount to “malpractice.” He added that the ordinance harms restaurants because chefs rely on open flames to heat woks, sear meat and char vegetables. The association says they can’t achieve the same effects with electric stoves.
“It’s like taking paint away from a painter and asking them to create a masterpiece,” said Robert W. Phillips, a professional chef and chairman of the Chef De Cuisine Association of California in the press release that announced the lawsuit.
“I understand that that’s a concern,” said the Sierra Club’s Gough, but he questioned why the issue wasn’t raised during the public comment period before Berkeley’s City Council voted on the ban.
Condie responded that neither the Sierra Club nor its allies in support of the Berkeley ordinance reached out to the California Restaurant Association.
This is not the first time environmental groups have put pressure on the California Restaurant Association over the lawsuit. In December 2019, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice and other groups alleged that the gas industry was behind the lawsuit. The association denies that claim.