The White House and a key independent regulator are pushing back on the idea of a ban on new gas stoves as tensions over the restrictions boil over in Washington.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the White House doesn’t support a ban on Wednesday, echoing earlier remarks from the chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Their comments come after another commissioner has said that a ban was on the table, sparking fury from Republicans and moderate Democrats in Congress.
Meanwhile, some supporters of either a ban or tougher regulations are being galvanized by a new study linking gas stoves to childhood asthma cases
CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. last month said that a forthcoming information request from the committee could be “the first step in what could be a long journey toward regulating gas stoves,” as The Hill reported at the time. He also said that an outright ban was “a real possibility.”
Similar comments that Trumka made to Bloomberg News this week sparked significant pushback, with lawmakers from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) coming out against the idea of a ban.
Cruz, in a written statement to The Hill, called the possibility of a ban “staggering overreach” and added “we will investigate this and move to stop it.”
“The federal government has no business telling American families how to cook their dinner,” said a written statement from Manchin. “If this is the greatest concern that the Consumer Product Safety Commission has for American consumers, I think we need to reevaluate the commission.”
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) also pledged to “do some oversight” on Wednesday.
“Gas stoves are very important and we need to understand what’s being proposed and why,” she told reporters on Wednesday morning at an energy industry event.
As the opposition mounted, CSPC Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric, an appointee of President Biden, said Wednesday that he’s not seeking a ban.
“I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so,” said Hoehn-Saric in a written statement.
He said that instead, the commission is looking “for ways to reduce related indoor air quality hazards” and explore “new ways to address health risks.”
The CPSC is expected to issue a formal request for “public input on hazards associated with gas stoves and proposed solutions to those hazards” by March.
The commission, which is made up of three Biden appointees and one appointee of former President Trump, makes its decisions independently.
At the White House, Jean-Pierre made it clear that Biden is against a ban.
“The president does not support banning gas stoves and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is independent, is not banning gas stoves,” Jean-Pierre told reporters.
Other ways to regulate gas stoves could include requiring stoves to contain technology aimed at limiting the release of pollutants, to be sold alongside vents that push pollution outdoors or to come with warning labels so that consumers are aware of possible health risks.
Last month, 20 House and Senate Democrats called for new performance standards for gas stoves and labels that inform consumers about exposure risks, in a letter that stopped short of endorsing a ban.
A spokesperson for Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), who signed and organized the letter, said that the lawmaker “didn’t seek a ban” but was instead looking for “consideration of what might be done to help prevent childhood asthma resulting from air pollution in American homes.”
Some supporters of further restrictions on gas stoves are also bolstered by a recent study linked the appliances to cases of childhood asthma.
“That’s huge,” said Public Interest Research Group environment campaigns director Matt Casale. “We can make a huge difference by reducing the exposure to that pollution.”