There was a furious uproar and pushback in January after a Biden administration official suggested a proposed federal ban on natural gas-powered cooktops and stoves was "on the table," which quickly resulted in a walk-back of that proposal amid intense "gaslighting" -- pun intended -- from the liberal media to dismiss concerns about possible bans on gas-powered kitchen appliances.
Less than a month later, though, the Department of Energy has now put forward a proposed rule that would set new efficiency standards for gas cooktops that would dramatically decrease the amount of allowable gas and drive up the cost of new appliances, the Daily Caller reported.
Separately, it has also since been revealed that, in stark contrast to the White House walk-back and liberal media gaslighting, the Biden administration really and truly was giving serious consideration to imposing a nationwide federal ban on gas-powered cooktops and stoves.
On Tuesday, the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy published a "supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking," with a 60-day public comment period, to announce "new and amended energy conservation standards for consumer conventional cooking products" that would apply to both electric and gas-powered appliances.
With respect to gas cooktops, current regulations only prohibit the use of "constant burning pilot lights" which, if allowed, would consume an estimated 2,000 thousand British thermal units, or kBtu, per year. The new regulation would remove that prohibition on constantly burning pilot lights but replace it with a maximum consumption allowance of just 1,204 kBtu per year.
That would substantially restrict the amount of gas that consumers could use while cooking, and though the DOE estimated it would save consumers around $25 annually on utility bills and reduce certain air pollutants, it also acknowledged that the change would cost manufacturers hundreds of millions of dollars to comply -- increased costs that would inevitably be passed along to consumers or prompt manufacturers to quit producing gas appliances altogether.
As for the origin of the uproar over gas cooktops and stoves, that can be traced back to comments made to Bloomberg News for a Jan. 9 article by an appointee of President Biden, Richard Trumka Jr., who serves as a commissioner on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
"This is a hidden hazard," Trumka said of air pollutants from gas-powered kitchen appliances. "Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned."
Various studies were cited to show a linkage between gas-powered cooktops with assorted toxic pollutants and childhood asthma, but as the Daily Caller noted, nearly all of those studies have been shown to be debunked, overblown, or the deeply biased product of anti-fossil fuel activist organizations.
There was immediate and intense pushback on the suggested ban by consumer and energy groups, many Republicans, and even some Democrats, which quickly resulted in equally intense gaslighting from the liberal media, such as this example from Politico that sought to address "What the right’s gas stove freakout was really about," and sarcastically declared, "No, President Joe Biden isn’t coming for your gas stove."
Then there was the "fact-check" from the Associated Press, which sought to ease the "overcooked fears" of a gas stove ban and similarly declared, albeit without the condescending snark, "THE FACTS: The White House says President Joe Biden would not support a ban, and the commission, an independent agency, says no such ban is in the works."
The rush of the media to attack Republicans and defend the Biden administration from criticism over its supposed plans appears to have been undercooked, so to speak, according to Fox News and an internal memo it obtained from CPSC Commissioner Trumka Jr. which revealed that, yes, the administration really was giving serious consideration to a national ban on gas cooktops and stoves.
In the October memo titled "(Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) Proposing Ban on Gas Stoves (Indoor Air Quality)," Trumka wrote, "The need for gas stove regulation has reached a boiling point," and stated, "CPSC has the responsibility to ban consumer products that emit hazardous substances, particularly, when those emissions harm children, under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act."
"There is sufficient information available for CPSC to issue an NPR in FY 2023 proposing to ban gas stoves in homes," the memo concluded. "The additional work needed to complete an NPR is primarily economic; the available health and scientific evidence on illnesses caused by the relevant gasses at the concentrations present in homes with gas stoves already exists."