First they declared they were coming for our natural gas stoves; then, after a firestorm of opposition erupted, they denied it. Don’t believe the denial. They’re definitely coming for our gas stoves – just like they came for our dishwashers, our shower heads, our toilets, and our gasoline-powered cars before them.
The latest blowup occurred last week, when a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Richard Trumka Jr., told Bloomberg News his agency was considering proposing a ban on gas stoves.
“This is a hidden hazard,” said Trumka. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”
Trumka’s stated “safety” concern is not that gas stoves are unsafe because they remain hot (and can, therefore, cause burns) for quite some time after being turned off – that’s a problem unique to electric range tops – but that they can create indoor air pollution, which can lead to asthma, especially in children.
The Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t see it that way. “Gas stoves (and gas fireplace inserts) do not require EPA certification,” says the EPA. “Whether designed to burn natural gas or propane, they burn very cleanly, emitting very little pollution.”
Nor does the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood, which found “no evidence of an association between the use of gas as a cooking fuel and either asthma symptoms or asthma diagnosis.”
If the CPSC isn’t really concerned about the pollution aspect of cooking with natural gas – and it’s not – what is the agency’s real problem? Simple: natural gas itself, because natural gas is a fossil fuel, and you can’t allow the continued use of fossil fuels if you’re determined to shift everything to electricity. Yes, that’s right, the bureaucracy of the CPSC, better known for annually blowing up mannequins before the Fourth of July to warn the public of the dangers of improper use of fireworks, has entered its bid to join the Green Army.
The move against gas stoves is only the most recent Biden Administration move against natural gas. A month ago, the Energy Department proposed banning federal buildings from using fossil fuels.
Yet the feds are late to the game on the switch-out-the-natural-gas-for-electricity front. Across the nation, more than 100 progressive municipalities and states have taken steps to “require or encourage the move off fossil fuels to all-electric homes and buildings,” according to the Rocky Mountain Institute, a progressive think tank pushing a green energy agenda.
For instance, the New York City Council decided in 2021 to prohibit natural gas hookups in new buildings smaller than seven stories, beginning at the end of 2023; larger buildings will be given an additional four years to come into compliance. California’s Air Resources Board unanimously approved a proposal last September to ban the sale of all new natural gas-fired furnaces and water-heating appliances by the end of this decade. In November, Montgomery County, Maryland, became the first county on the East Coast to ban fossil fuels from almost all newly-constructed buildings, with the ban to go into effect by 2026. And New York Governor Kathy Hochul last week called for “the nation’s most aggressive ban on fossil fuels in new buildings,” according to Energy Wire, urging her state’s legislators to “phase out the sale of fossil fuel heating equipment in existing residential buildings beginning in 2030 and in 2035 in commercial ones. The governor also proposed requiring new residential and commercial buildings to be all-electric by 2025 and 2030, respectively.”
The gas-stove grabbers are employing a carrot-AND-stick approach – subsidies (in the form of tax credits, particularly a federal tax rebate of up to $840 for the purchase of a new electric range, found in the absurdly named Inflation Reduction Act) to induce the less determined/more easily swayed gas-stove lovers to give up the gas and make the switch, combined with coercion (in the form of regulations, restrictions, and outright bans) to force the more resistant/less easily swayed gas-stove lovers to give them up and make the switch.
According to Trumka, the CPSC plans to ask for public comment on the “hazards” posed by gas stoves later this year. That will be our opportunity to let Biden and his bureaucrats know what we think of their plan to take away our gas stoves, our chance to follow the advice of Ronald Reagan, who is reputed to have said – aptly, for an argument about gas stoves – “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”