Congress turns up the heat on a burning issue: Your gas stove

A congressional panel took up an issue Wednesday that’s generated a lot of political heat in culture wars — the future of the gas stove, and President Joe Biden’s administration’s efforts to get Americans to go electric.

The Republican-led House oversight subcommittee on regulatory affairs held a hearing which included several witnesses critical of proposed federal requirements covering gas stoves.

“Make no mistake, there is a war on natural gas, and it is extending into our homes and into our kitchens,” said Ben Lieberman with the American Enterprise Institute.

The chair of the committee, Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, charged that the Biden administration is trying to effectively ban gas stoves and Americans’ choice of what type of appliance they buy for their homes.

“What is more American than a gas stove?” Fallon asked at the outset of the hearing. “The Biden administration is looking to regulate gas stoves out of existence.”

But the ranking Democrat on the panel, Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., charged that Republicans are trying to perpetuate a myth.

“This proposed rule is not a ban on gas stoves,” she said.

The Energy Department rule would impose new restrictions on gas stoves and also seeks to reduce emissions.

Supporters of the rule and new regulations point to studies that have shown health risks related to stoves that use natural gas.

But opponents argue that the regulation is another example of government overreach, which could reduce consumer choices and potentially put companies out of business.

The Energy Department proposal is “an attempt to remove a large portion of natural gas cooking products from the market that would result in nominal energy savings and limited cost savings,” Matthew Agen, chief regulatory counsel with the American Gas Association, said at the hearing.

He also stated that the proposed changes could potentially eliminate at least half the gas stoves currently on the market.

The Energy Department declined to provide a witness to testify at the hearing, noting the rule was still under consideration.

The department was sharply criticized by Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., for not sending a representative. He also had a question for the agency.

“What do you expect the American people to do with respect to their kitchen?” he said. “Are they going to now retrofit their kitchen?”

Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., mocked Republicans for focusing on the gas stove issue.

“We as Democrats have clearly lost our way, that we are not focused on appliances,” he said, sarcastically. “I look forward to the legislation of our time — the appliance bill of rights.”

Mitchell Miller

Mitchell Miller has worked at WTOP since 1996, as a producer, editor, reporter and Senior News Director. After working "behind the scenes," coordinating coverage and reporter coverage for years, Mitchell moved back to his first love -- reporting. He is now WTOP's Capitol Hill reporter.

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