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Ron DeSantis criticizes Biden Administration for considering gas stove regulations

By Sarah May
|
January 13, 2023

After reports emerged earlier this week that the Biden administration's Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was contemplating a ban on gas stoves due to studies warning of their links to dangerous respiratory conditions, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis quickly weighed in on the matter, smacking down the notion of any prohibition on the appliance, as the Daily Mail describes.

The controversy was sparked by the CPSC's decision to initiate a comment period regarding the alleged risks of gas stoves amid calls from some Democratic lawmakers to consider adding warning labels, emission standards, range hood rules, or even an outright ban on the cookers.

Stove controversy erupts

As word began to spread this week about the possibility of a ban – or at least stringent new restrictions – on gas stoves, CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. dubbed the popular kitchen appliances “a hidden hazard” and confirmed that “[a]ny option is on the table. Products that can't be made safe can be banned,” as the New York Post reported.

In support of his position, Trumka and others cited studies including one from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a clean energy advocacy group claiming that roughly one out of every eight cases of asthma in the U.S. is caused by pollutants sent into the air by gas stoves.

Study co-author Brady Seals declared, “There is about 50 years of health studies showing that gas stoves are bad for our health, and the strongest evidence is on children and children's asthma. By having a gas connection, we are polluting the insides of our homes,” adding that the appliances emit harmful substances such as methane, nitrogen dioxide, benzene, and hexane, even when not in use.

Representatives of the gas stove manufacturing industry, however, took issue with the premise underlying the idea of a gas stove prohibition, with Jill Notini of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers pointing out that all cooking methods are known to produce potentially harmful emissions and that “[v]entilation is really where this discussion should be rather than banning one particular type of technology.”

Energy industry lobbyist Mike McKenna was similarly skeptical of the federal agency, suggesting that talk of a ban is “transparently political,” as the Mail noted, adding that “[i]f the CPSC really wanted to do something about public health, it would ban cigarettes or automobiles.” An editorial in the Wall Street Journal characterized the move as the agency's enlistment “in the crusade to ban fossil fuels from the kitchen.”

DeSantis fires back

Speaking at a Thursday press conference in his home state, DeSantis wasted no time in taking aim at rumors of CPSC action on gas-powered cooking appliances, according to Florida Politics.

“When we say don't tread on Florida or let us alone, we mean that, including on your gas stoves,” the governor said as he delivered remarks at The Villages.

DeSantis continued, “You're not taking our gas stoves away from us. That's your choice! I know many people who cook a lot who do not want to part with their gas stoves! We're going to stand up for that.”

Highlighting what he views as the hypocrisy of those who suggested the idea of a ban to begin with, DeSantis added, “You know, they float this to try to do, and they want to do it, let's just be honest. And then you start to see the narrative kick into gear. CNN segments saying it's causing asthma in kids, and all this other stuff. And then they start propagating the narrative, but then they got blowback, so they've kind of had to retreat from that.”

The governor concluded, “And now the narrative machine is like, 'Oh, why are these conservatives talking about gas stoves! They're trying to stoke issues,' No. You were trying to do it and we're fighting back.”

Trumka clarifies

The “backtrack” to which DeSantis referred involved something of a clarification Trumka issued as the outcry from Republican lawmakers and others began to grow, as the New York Post noted separately.

“To be clear, CPSC isn't coming for anyone's gas stoves,” Trumka wrote. “Regulations apply to new products for Americans who CHOOSE to switch from gas to electric, there is support available – Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act which includes a $840 rebate.”

Following that statement, DeSantis blasted the entire concept while speaking to a different group in Florida on Tuesday, saying, “The Biden administration wants to nix gas stoves, are you kidding me? Like we need, I want gas stoves.”

Pointing to the role such appliances played during a recent natural disaster in his state, DeSantis added, “I mean, imagine how many people, had [Hurricane Ian] come through, didn't have power right away, but were able to turn on.”

“You cannot go down that road, but that's exactly what they want to do,” warned the governor.

Though the CPSC will go ahead with its plan to gather “public input on hazards associated with gas stoves,” as Politico noted, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre assured reporters that President Joe Biden “does not support banning gas stoves.” It still remains to be seen, however, whether any movement in that direction ultimately gains traction.