The GOP is cooking up another storm over gas stove rules
“No one takes my gas stove. No one will take your gas stove,” Granholm said this month.
But that doesn’t dampen the fervor of Republicans, who have already cried foul over federal efficiency standards for light bulbs, showers and toilets – the last of which was a particularly favorite cause of former President Donald Trump.
They note that the DOE has proposed a significant expansion of gas stove efficiency regulations, an effort that would make them more fuel efficient and curb the burning of planet-warming methane, as well as emissions leakage. In the meantime, the consumer commission has opened an investigation into the emissions and health effects of the stoves.
“The next step in the Biden administration’s radical green agenda cutting block are American gas stoves,” said Rep. pat fallon (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, in a statement ahead of Wednesday morning’s hearing by his panel.
The industry’s decline has also been filled with culinary metaphors.
“Fortunately, Julia Child was able to cook her masterful creations and exhibit her gas stove at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History before the DOE had the opportunity to ban it,” the American Gas Association wrote in its comments last month on the DOE’s proposal.
In addition to Wednesday’s oversight subcommittee hearing, the Energy and Commerce Committee will annotate the legislation – HR 1640 (118) — aimed at stopping the DOE from completing or enforcing its proposed new energy efficiency standards, along with a bill — HR 1615 (118) — aimed at preventing the Consumer Commission from using federal funds to ban gas stoves.
Efficiency advocates say the attack on the DOE’s proposed rule — which includes no outright ban on gas stoves — is based on a deliberate misunderstanding of the facts.
“Manufacturers of the product seeking to avoid regulation have fanned the flames of controversy over what is really a very modest standard that requires small incremental improvements in gas cookers – and electric cookers too, for that matter,” said said Andrew deLaski, Executive Director. of the appliance standards awareness project.
Manufacturers opposing the proposed action, however, point to “botched” changes to the DOE’s analysis and methodology on efficiency regulations that they say overestimate the number of stoves that will be compliant. proposed standards.
Jill Notini, vice president of communications and marketing for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, said the DOE’s proposal is “essentially” a ban on gas products because it would require appliances to be so drastically redesigned. that they would no longer be desirable.
“(The DOE has) taken no action regarding gas cooking products in the past,” Notini said. She added that “nothing has changed except a willingness to use more electrical products”.
The DOE did not respond to a request for comment on Hill’s action this week, or to comment from industry.
Proponents of the DOE’s proposal say the department is fulfilling its legal and statutory authority after years of lapsed action under the Trump administration. The DOE is under a court order to issue a final rule on gas stoves by January.
“This is not a war on gas products or gas stoves or your kitchen or anything like that,” said Joe Vukovich, an energy efficiency advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s a program that saves consumers money and is good for the environment.
Fallon is expected to say at Wednesday’s hearing that Republicans know the DOE has the power to regulate energy efficiency standards for appliances and has done so for decades without issue, but will argue that since Biden has took office, “he made it clear from day one that he was on a mission to end fossil fuels.
“Under his leadership, energy prices have skyrocketed as agencies impose rules to suppress energy production and hurt America’s energy independence,” Fallon said in prepared remarks shared with POLITICO.
DeLaski, who is set to testify before the oversight committee that the gasoline ban rhetoric is “a red herring,” acknowledged that the DOE “did a very poor job of explaining” in the original proposal. But he said manufacturers took advantage of the poor presentation to turn it into a wholesale ban.
The DOE first published the proposed rule in December. He later published a notice providing additional information in February.
The rule would leave basic stove models that make up about half of the market untouched and offer “modest” changes to commercial-grade models to meet the proposed standard, deLaski said. Granholm echoed that this month, telling lawmakers the proposal only affected high-end gas ranges. And Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk has previously testified that every major manufacturer already has gasoline-powered models that meet or exceed the level offered.
History shows that despite corporate complaints, they can improve their products and meet new standards, said Dan Reicher, Clinton-era assistant energy secretary who is now a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute. for the environment.
“There is often concern about higher standards, but in almost all cases, manufacturers have risen to the challenges and consumers and the environment are the beneficiaries,” Reicher said.
Gas stoves became the new hot front in January after the Consumer Product Safety Commission said it would review their risks and possibly impose health regulations – with one member telling Bloomberg the action could, theoretically, lead to a product ban. Republicans grabbed that title, even after the commission chairman publicly said a ban wouldn’t happen.
A few weeks later, DOE published an energy efficiency proposal covering gas cookers as well as electric cookers and ovens. The DOE estimated that about half of the stoves currently on the market would not meet the proposed standard, which critics immediately cited as a restriction on consumer choice.
But establishing efficiency regulations is far from a ban, Reicher said.
The idea has also struck a chord nationally as some Democratic-led states, including California, New York and Washington, are imposing increasingly aggressive gas bans within their borders.
“Now we see other states doing it because of the direction of the Democratic administration,” the rep said. Jeff Duncan (RS.C.), chair of the energy, climate and network security subcommittee of energy and commerce. “We shouldn’t limit the devices that the American consumer can buy.”
A federal appeals court dealt a blow to those local efforts in April when it ruled that a city of Berkeley ordinance banning gas hookups in new buildings violated federal law. Experts are still debating the impact of this ruling on bans in other cities and states.
Josh Siegel contributed to this report.