The move comes after Austin weighed a proposal to phase out use of the fossil fuel as part of the city’s climate plan. More than 40 cities in California including San Francisco have passed measures designed to end gas connections into homes amid concerns over the fuel’s contribution to global warming.
Democratic state representative Joe Deshotel, sponsor of the bill, said the legislation is needed to preserve “customer choice” for energy supplies.
The gas industry has started pushing back against the local restrictions, which are starting to pop up outside of California. Big gas producing states including Louisiana and Oklahoma have passed legislation prohibiting local bans and several other states are considering similar measures.
Natural gas is used to heat about 35% of homes in Texas with electricity used for home heating for 61% of residences, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. However, most modern furnaces require electricity to function.
The bill requires a final vote in the Texas house before moving to the state Senate, which has expressed support for the gas industry.