The great gas stove debate was front and center Wednesday in a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill examining the Biden administration’s proposal to regulate gas stoves and more.
The hearing by the Republican-led Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs heard from several witnesses, including some who were critical of the proposed Department of Energy (DOE) requirements on gas stoves, characterizing the rules as a war on natural gas.
“The stove rule is part of a much larger assault on natural gas being conducted by the Biden administration in the name of fighting climate change,” Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, told the subcommittee.
The Energy Department proposal is “an attempt to remove a large portion of natural gas cooking products from the market that would result in nominal energy savings and limited cost savings,” Matthew Agen, the chief regulatory counsel of the American Gas Association, testified.
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U.S. Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX), chairman of the subcommittee, said the DOE is trying to take away Americans’ choice in what appliances they can buy.
“What is more American than a gas stove? And not just gas stoves, it’s also targeting dishwashers, refrigerators, water heaters, furnaces, and even air conditioners,” said Rep. Fallon. “So while Americans suffer under the weight of inflation, that has not let up, it wasn’t transitory, the Biden administration is trying to make Americans’ lives even more expensive.”
Ranking Democratic member U.S. Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) disagreed with Fallon, arguing fossil fuels and gas stoves are a problem that Washington should restrict.
“Congress has an obligation to make smart and forward-thinking investments with taxpayer dollars to ensure our future generations are not plagued by illnesses that lawmakers can prevent today,” Bush said. “It’s important to recognize that gas stoves perpetuate an unsustainable reliance on fossil fuels and can cause significant health issues. We know the Department of Energy’s proposed rule in new efficiency standards will reduce both the negative climate and negative health impacts.”
The DOE declined to provide a witness to testify at the hearing, noting the rule was still under consideration, according to WTOP-TV.
U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) chastised the department for not sending any officials to testify.
“They don’t want to answer questions about their own rule, which is going to impact the bottom line and pocketbook of every American, especially those who own gas stoves currently. And, you know, I just find that to be ridiculous,” Donalds said.
Gas Stoves – Another Part of America’s New Culture War?
As CBN News has reported, the White House has said President Joe Biden doesn’t support a ban on gas stoves. However, gas stoves are in the spotlight in America’s culture wars as more Democrat-controlled cities and states move to limit or ban their use in the name of climate change. Earlier this month, New York became the first state to ban natural gas stoves and furnaces in most new buildings.
As CBN News reported in April, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a 2019 natural gas ban that applied to the construction of new buildings in Berkeley, California. The appeals court’s panel of three judges ruled the city’s ban violated the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975.
The 9th Circuit Court’s federal decision may set a precedent that could affect states and municipalities across the country.
According to the most recent statistics, 38 percent of Americans own a gas stove.
Back in March, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a budget hearing for 2024 that there was no ban on gas stoves. She said the proposed rule introduced by the DOE in February would just make electric and gas stoves and other appliances more efficient.
Granholm framed the numerous reports about the Energy Department’s proposed rule as “misinformation.”
Following Granholm’s remarks, CBN News reached out to the DOE about the claims of a ban on gas stoves. A spokesperson for the department said at the time there will be no ban on any appliances.
“The Department is conducting this rulemaking on gas and electric cooktops to fulfill its statutory obligations as directed by Congress and a consent decree deadline requiring the final rule to be completed by January 2024. DOE proposes efficiency standards all the time — for lightbulbs, washers and dryers, refrigerators, and more. Does it mean they’re coming to ban those appliances? Of course not,” the spokesperson said.
The Energy Department is required by law to conduct efficiency standard reviews every six years under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA). The law was passed by Congress in 1975.
House Committee Advances Legislation to Prevent Gas Stove Ban
But Republicans say the DOE’s proposed efficiency standards for gas-fired cooktops and other household appliances constitute federal overreach.
In response, the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced two bills Wednesday that would prevent the federal government from banning gas stoves, according to Politico.
H.R. 1615 would bar the Consumer Product Safety Commission from using federal funds to ban gas stoves. H.R. 1640 would stop the DOE from finalizing its efficiency rule.
In January, comments from the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission that “any option is on the table” to regulate gas stoves sparked outrage from conservatives who said it amounted to government intrusion in people’s homes. The pushback was so great, CPSC Commission Chairman Alex Hoehn-Saric tweeted: “I want to set the record straight. Contrary to recent media reports, I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the @USCPSC has not proceeding to do so.”