Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., warned in a letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm this week that regulations recently proposed by her agency would ban up to 96% of the gas-powered stoves currently available to Americans.
Daines noted in the letter sent Wednesday that the Department of Energy (DOE) itself acknowledges that just 4% of the current gas stove market share would meet the stringent rules governing the efficiency levels of gas stoves, effectively banning the vast majority of products being sold. The DOE issued the proposed rule on Feb. 1, shortly after the Biden administration was slammed for appearing to move ahead with a gas stove ban.
“The Department clearly states in the Proposed Rule … that only 4% of the current market share meet the extremely high new proposed standard,” Daines wrote to Granholm. “This means that, according to the Department’s own analysis published in the Proposed Rule, that 96% of existing gas cooking tops would be banned from future manufacturing and sales.”
“Obviously, this contradicts President Biden’s position as stated in the hearing by an assistant secretary of the Department that issued the rule,” he continued.
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On Feb. 16, Andrew Light, the DOE’s assistant secretary of energy for international affairs, said President Biden was not in favor of banning gas stoves in response to questions from Daines during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing. The Montana lawmaker wrote in his letter that Light’s comments appeared to run counter to the agency’s own proposal.
He also noted that, in a “suspicious coincidence,” the DOE issued different data that seemed to contradict information in the Feb. 1 proposed rule immediately after the hearing with Light.
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“This has led to greater confusion among lawmakers, manufacturers, and consumers. It is extremely important, as I stated during the hearing, that the public understands the effect of the Proposed Rule so they are both able to make official comments and prepare for what could be a substantial reduction in gas cooking appliances available to consumers,” Daines continued.
“When there are differing and conflicting data points and when statements during multiple congressional hearings are not being answered effectively, then it is incumbent on the Department to clarify these issues for congressional members and alert consumers and manufacturers of the real impacts of a proposed rule.”
Daines concluded the letter by requesting the DOE brief lawmakers and staff members on the impacts of the gas stove rule before finalizing it.
Daines’ concerns come after a Biden-appointed member of the little-known Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) made headlines when he told Bloomberg in early January that a gas stove ban was “on the table” given the product’s purported impacts on health. The Bloomberg article highlighted a study partially funded by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) that linked gas stove usage to childhood asthma.
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After widespread criticism from industry groups and Republican lawmakers, the White House eventually came out against a gas stove ban, saying it wouldn’t support such a measure. Granholm called the idea of a ban “ridiculous.”
However, Granholm tweeted a link to the RMI study on Jan. 4, saying “we can and must FIX this” and has privately met with RMI officials, according to her internal calendar.
And, despite Granholm’s comments, the DOE pushed forward with the new restrictions on gas stove usage.
The DOE didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.