Not one but two separate federal agencies are proposing or studying regulations that would severely curtail the use of gas stoves for new construction. That has renewed the culture war battle over the appliances.
"Instead of working to lower food prices for families and lessening inflation, the Biden administration’s priority is to target as many as 40% of Americans and arbitrarily ban their gas stoves," Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson said. "Biden’s Department of Energy has weaponized the federal rulemaking process to push a radical Green New Deal agenda that is neither affordable for American families nor based in science."
The Department of Energy has proposed new energy efficiency standards , which the vast majority of today's gas stoves would not meet, while the Consumer Product Safety Commission is seeking information on "chronic hazards associated with gas ranges and proposed solutions to those hazards," potentially in advance of its own rule.
The DOE said its proposals would not amount to a ban.
“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," an agency spokesperson said. "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."
While 96% of gas stoves the DOE physically tested did not meet the new regulations, the department said that finding "should not be confused with percentage of products that would meet the standard."
CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. ignited the controversy during a Bloomberg interview in which he described gas stoves as a "hidden hazard" and added, "Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”
Trumka, the son of longtime union leader Richard L. Trumka, even attacked the utility of gas ranges, calling it a misconception and a "carefully manicured myth" that fine dining has to be done on gas.
Meanwhile, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) teamed up for a bipartisan bill to block a gas stove ban. Cruz was also among a host of conservatives to mock first lady Jill Biden for cooking with gas in a 2020 photo.
That led the White House to walk back Trumka's comments partially, saying any ban would only apply to new stoves.
"The president does not support banning gas stoves, and the CPSC, which is independent, is not banning gas stoves," Jean-Pierre said. "I just want to be very clear on that. And so, again, that's not something that we can make from here about the safety of a gas stove. That's not something the White House can provide."
Despite those reassurances, there is growing support among progressives to ban gas. Dozens of cities and counties have banned new natural gas hookups, while subtler efforts include an $840 rebate on electric stoves tucked into the Inflation Reduction Act.
Proponents tout arguments about climate change and studies linking gas stoves to childhood asthma. The American Lung Association has come out in support of a state-level gas ban in New York, while "Squad" Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has suggested gas stoves could be linked to brain damage .
"I’m excited to join Rewiring America to share the benefits of electrification and ensure families get their fair share," Abrams said on Tuesday. "I look forward to working together as we build the tools that will transform everyday Americans from energy consumers to energy moguls in their own communities.”
Polls show there is broad support on the Left for banning gas. Morning Consult found that 56% of Democrats favored the idea, with just 26% opposed. Among Republicans, 28% favored the idea, with 56% opposed, and independents were effectively tied.
Since federal agencies must accept public comments before changing rules, conservatives have launched www.savestoves.com to solicit comments from gas lovers. They hope to stop the effort cold.
"Just as they have with federal rules on everything from Title IX to vaccine mandates," Anderson said, "grassroots Americans need to continue to use the public comment process to delay or even potentially block Biden’s unrealistic and aggressive bureaucratic overreach."
NOTE: This story has been updated with a statement from the Department of Energy.