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Boston seeks to ban fossil fuels in new buildings

Boston is seeking to ban fossil fuels from new building projects and major renovations, Mayor Michelle Wu announced Tuesday.

The Democrat said the state’s largest city will take advantage of a key provision in the climate change bill signed into law by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker last week.

That legislation, which is meant to bring the state closer to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, calls for a pilot project allowing 10 Massachusetts cities and towns to require new building projects be all-electric, with the exception of life sciences labs and health care facilities.

Wu said the city will file a home rule petition with the state Legislature to join the pilot.

“Boston must lead by taking every possible step for climate action,” she said in a statement. “Boston’s participation will help deliver healthy, energy efficient spaces that save our residents and businesses on utilities costs and create local green jobs that will fuel our economy for decades.”

Wu's office said natural gas, oil and other fossil fuels used in buildings represent more than one-third of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Other major U.S. cities have already moved to ban fossil fuel hookups in new buildings, including New York City and Washington, D.C.

Opponents of the idea say it can make housing more expensive.

With additional reporting by WBUR's Barbara Moran

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