At Subcommittee Hearing, Democrats Counter Republicans’ Falsehoods on Gas Stoves
Washington, D.C. (May 24, 2023)—Today, Rep. Cori Bush, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs, led Subcommittee Democrats in countering misinformation by Republicans on the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to improve energy efficiency of gas stoves, and reduce indoor health hazards linked to kitchen appliances.
“These standards are not a ban on gas stoves, but a way to move the nation forward and reduce the health and climate risks to people and our planet—while giving consumers more information and more options,” said Ranking Member Bush in her opening statement.
The hearing included testimony from Republican witnesses Ben Lieberman, Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute; Kenny Stein, Vice President, Policy Institute for Energy Research; and Matthew J. Agen, Assistant General Counsel, American Gas Association. The hearing also featured testimony from Andrew deLaski, Executive Director for the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.
Subcommittee Democrats highlighted how gas stoves have had an enormous negative impact on the climate and human health, including contributing to childhood asthma and other respiratory diseases for decades.
- In response to questioning from Ranking Member Bush about the use of natural gas as a fuel source, Mr. deLaski stated: “Burning natural gas in our homes and in our power plants is a significant contributor to climate change emissions and also a significant contributor to air quality challenges and problems indoors and outdoors. And making our stoves more efficient would reduce combustion and reduce the emissions coming from our stoves.”
- Rep. Shontel Brown noted health experts’ long-held concerns about the impact of gas stoves on human health: “It is unacceptable that nearly 13% of childhood asthma is directly connected to gas stove emissions. To be clear, while the Department of Energy works to improve the efficiency of stoves, we can all take steps to reduce the potential health risks associated with their use—doing small things like turning on a vent or opening a window . . . One of the essential services of our government provides is to review consumer products and identify ways to make them cleaner and safer. That’s exactly what the Department of Energy is doing, making sure that gas stoves are less expensive to operate and produce few toxins and health hazards.”
- Mr. deLaski also highlighted comments from American Lung Association, nurses organizations, and other public health advocates on the DOE’s proposed regulation laying out how gas stoves contribute to problems for indoor and ambient air quality. “They support the gas stove standard and are vocally supporting it.”
Subcommittee Democrats made clear that the Biden-Harris Administration is not proposing a ban on gas stoves.
- In his closing statement, Subcommittee Chairman Pat Fallon confirmed that the proposed DOE rule is not a ban on gas stoves.
- Rep. Shontel Brown set the record straight regarding Republicans’ myths on the DOE’s proposed rule: “The Biden Administration, again, is not banning gas stoves. I repeat, the Biden Administration is not banning gas stoves. The Department of Energy is not banning gas stoves, and in fact, the Department of Energy cannot ban stoves through energy efficiency standards. Instead, consistent with the law, the Department of Energy is proposing standards that would improve efficiency of gas stoves built in the future.”
- Mr. deLaski testified that when the proposed DOE rule is finalized: “Consumers will continue to have a wide variety of gas stove models from which to choose. The proposed efficiency standards would benefit consumers about half the gas stoves sold today already meet the proposed standards. Others, primarily the luxury commercial style models, would require modest improvements resulting in about a 30% reduction in energy use for the same amount of cooking. That’s a good thing. That will both save consumers money and improve public health outcomes.”
Subcommittee Democrats discussed how the Department of Energy’s proposed standards would improve the energy efficiency of gas stoves and mitigate the chronic hazards of the kitchen appliance.
- When Rep. Bush asked Mr. deLaski if improving the efficiency of gas stoves would help reduce the impact on the climate crisis, he responded, “Absolutely. Improving the efficiency of our gas stoves would help.”
- In response to a question from Rep. Shontel Brown, Mr. deLaski outlined the benefits of the DOE’s proposed efficiency standards, including lower utility bills for consumers.
- In her closing statement, Ranking Member Bush introduced a letter of support from the Consumer Federation of American and the National Consumer Law Center. The letter states: “Inefficient stoves raise important equity concerns. If DOE fails to adopt strong efficiency standards for stoves, it will leave millions of renters (who are disproportionately low-income compared to the population at large) consigned to having less efficient stoves installed with consequently larger energy bills.”