Proposed standards for gas stovetops have cooked up a storm on Capitol Hill Wednesday after the Department of Energy released its plans earlier this year.
The Republican-led House Oversight Committee held a hearing on the proposal. Witnesses invited by Republican members of the committee blasted the proposal, citing estimates that the rule would take over half of gas stoves for sale off the market.
"Eliminating, at minimum, half of the gas stoves available to consumers prevents customers who want a gas stove from obtaining one," said Matthew Agen, chief regulatory counsel at the American Gas Association. "Not only is the proposed rule ill-conceived, analytically unsupportable, and anti-consumer, the proposed rule suffers from a series of procedural and legal errors that render it unlawful."
Andrew deLaski, executive director at Appliance Standards Awareness Project said that modest improvements to gas stoves that don't meet the new standards would result in a 30% decrease in energy use to do the same amount of cooking.
"Energy efficiency standards for household appliances and commercial equipment have been a cost-saving feature of American energy policy for decades," deLaski said on Wednesday. "The DOE should expeditiously finalize strong energy efficiency standards to secure real cost and energy savings — and long-term energy security — for the American people."
Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, chair of the House Oversight Committee, claimed the new rules are an "assault" on Americans' gas stoves, calling the standards a "de facto ban."
"What is more American than gas stoves?" Fallon said.
Rep. Cori Bush, ranking member of the committee, pushed back on Fallon's claims.
"This proposed rule is not a ban on gas stoves," she said. "We are regulating indoor air pollution. The climate crisis is happening all around us and Republican inaction is costing our lives."
The debate comes as scientists express concern over gas stovetops' emissions.
Earlier this year, a commissioner for the Consumer Product Safety Commission said the federal agency should consider banning gas stovetops in homes. He later walked back those comments, however.
Eric Lebel, a senior scientist for PSE Health Energy, previously told Scripps News there are two main concerns that gas stoves pose. One is that stoves can emit methane gas, which is a potent greenhouse gas.
It is both a climate and a health concern," Lebel said in a January interview. "We know that methane is a strong greenhouse gas. It is 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide over a 20-year lifespan. We need to do all we can to reduce methane emissions from all sources. Natural gas is one of the contributors to methane emissions in the U.S. We're finding it can be leaked from the appliances themselves; it is not just the production of natural gas and the transmission."
He said the other concern is that stoves can release harmful gases such as nitrogen oxides. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, large doses of nitrogen oxides can cause dizziness. Long-term exposure can lead to infertility, the CDC said.
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