What the gas stove panic on the right was really about…

What the gas stove panic on the right was really about

The fossil fuel-powered appliances are not being proposed for prohibition by the Biden administration. However, they are at the focus of the most recent Washington cultural war as well as a rising national discussion regarding city and state gas bans.

Joe Biden, the president, won’t be coming for your gas range.

Despite this, Republicans and conservative pundits have spent the past week worrying about what will happen to Americans’ ranges and cooktops, echoing previous GOP complaints about threats to hamburgers, toilets, air travel, incandescent light bulbs, and gasoline-powered cars, which may or may not be real.

Whether it was real or not, the stove flap provided Republican lawmakers a chance to bring Biden’s energy policy back into the spotlight after last year’s spike in gas prices had subsided.

It also mentions a genuine, nationwide campaign by liberal local and state politicians to ban gas stoves and furnaces in new construction on the grounds that they are hazardous to human health and cause climate change. However, establishing any such ban at the federal level has been ruled out by the White House. (After the topic was raised again during the news briefing on Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre informed reporters that the president does not support outlawing gas stoves.)

The Virginia Democrat who helped start the commotion and other Democrats in Washington are trying to stay out of the controversy.

Rep. Don Beyer’s (D-VA) spokesman, Aaron Fritschner, responded when questioned about this week’s stove controversy: “I’m loath to touch the stove again.” “The news cycle was extremely foolish. Such little of it was grounded in reality.

Beyer and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) petitioned the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate the health dangers presented by the methane emissions from gas stoves in December.

Then, in a piece published by Bloomberg News last week, one of the commission’s five members said that among other potential future measures, a ban on new gas stoves might be considered. However, as POLITICO’s E&E News reported on Tuesday, the member, Biden nominee Richard Trumka Jr., has previously failed to persuade his fellow commissioners to even consider regulating stoves. The commission instead intends to gather “public input” on the health risks and potential remedies associated with stoves.

Alexander Hoehn-Saric, the chair, later stated in a statement, “I am not aiming to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.

But by that point, the situation had reached a point where a culture war was breaking out, and lawmakers started spewing insults.

God. Weapons. Gas Stoves,” the Republican congressman from Ohio, Jim Jordan, wrote in a tweet.

Additionally, staunch supporter of fossil fuels and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia called any ban on stoves “a formula for disaster.”

He tweeted, “The federal government has no business dictating to American families how to prepare their dinner.”

The introduction of legislation to safeguard gas appliances in the House followed that.

H.R. 5376 (117), Vice President Biden’s hallmark climate measure, contains incentives to encourage people to switch from gas appliances even though a federal ban is not currently in the works. This includes an estimated $4.5 billion in refunds for new electric appliances, such as ranges, cooktops, and wall ovens, that states will distribute.

If the consumer commission decides to take up stove regulation, it has a number of options to take into account. The CPSC might impose warning signs on gas stoves, launch public awareness campaigns about their risks, or, most directly, adopt regulations that must be followed in order to lessen the risks, according to a research from New York University’s Institute for Policy Integrity published last year.

Brady Seals, manager of the Carbon-Free Buildings programme at the environmental think tank RMI, stated, “The thing that we have really been waiting for is required performance criteria to make sure that these consumer products aren’t reaching levels that would be known as dangerous to health.”

About 38% of homes nationwide utilise natural gas for cooking.

Republicans, representatives of the gas business, and Manchin, a staunch supporter of fossil fuels, have made their voices heard in part because: Municipal gas restrictions are becoming more prevalent as more studies uncover potential health risks, making it urgent to stop any prospective federal restrictions.

According to a recently released study, which compared the risks posed by second-hand smoking to those caused by gas stove emissions, one in eight occurrences of childhood asthma are caused by these emissions. Gas stoves and ovens are significant sources of dangerous indoor air pollutants that the federal government doesn’t control since they occur indoors, according to an American Lung Association research from 2022 that examined dozens of earlier studies.

As a strategy to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas pollution coming from buildings, liberal politicians and activists in numerous cities around the country have also endorsed bans on gas stoves and furnaces.

With the first such ban adopted in 2019, Berkeley, California, set the precedent. Since then, around 100 communities, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle, have implemented similar prohibitions for at least some new residences.

As of last fall, Washington became the first state to forbid gas-powered heating in newly constructed homes and apartment buildings, mandating the use of electric heat pumps in their place. Other sorts of gas bans are also emerging. The governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, has proposed the first statewide ban on gas stoves in newly constructed homes and apartments.

RMI’s Seals predicted that there would be “a lot more movement on this at the state level.”

Backlash followed, and more than 20 states—mostly those under Republican control—responded by introducing legislation that forbade municipal governments from outlawing gas stoves.

Republicans and other proponents of fossil fuels believe the firestorm will cause the administration to reconsider putting out the burners.

According to Karen Harbert, president of the American Gas Association, a trade organisation for gas utilities, some of the outrage around this issue may be due to the fact that people prefer their gas stoves.

In a call with reporters on Thursday, Harbert observed that natural gas is already highly regulated, both at the utility level and through product certification for stoves and other gas-burning appliances.

She remarked, “This is not the Wild West.

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