Efforts to regulate gas stoves are being renewed as a second federal agency has waded into the fray with a proposal on energy limits for the appliances.
The Energy Department proposal, published Wednesday, would set limits on energy consumption for gas stoves, which the industry says could push some products out of the market. Energy usage standards for electric cook tops and new standards for gas and electric ovens also would be established.
"We are concerned that this is another attempt by the federal government to use regulations to remove viable and efficient natural gas products from the market," Karen Harbert, president of the American Gas Association, told Bloomberg.
She added that the group will "carefully evaluate this rule in the coming weeks."
The move comes weeks after Richard Trumka Jr., commissioner of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, floated the idea of banning gas stoves because of their alleged link to indoor air pollutants and childhood asthma.
Within days, the agency said there are no plans for a ban as a firestorm of criticism erupted from the gas industry and from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The White House issued a statement saying President Joe Biden does not support banning gas stoves.
According to Bloomberg, Alexander Hoehn-Saric, chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission said the agency was "not looking to ban gas stoves," but is moving forward with a Request for Information, the first step in possible regulation.
About 40% of homes in the U.S. use natural gas stoves, which emit levels of air pollutants that the Environmental Protection Agency and World Health Organization have deemed unsafe. Multiple studies have linked respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular problems, cancer, and other health conditions to the levels of air pollutants emitted by gas stoves.
According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Department of Energy's proposal would cut energy usage by approximately 30% relative to the least-efficient products on the market today. Some products on the market already meet the proposed standards, the group said.
Groups representing stove manufacturers told Bloomberg they are alarmed by the proposal.
"This approach by DOE could effectively ban gas appliances," said Jill Notini, a vice president with the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. "We are concerned this approach could eliminate fully featured gas products."
While the trade group is still examining the proposed regulation, Notini said "it appears" that 95% of the market would not meet the proposed standards."
According to the Energy Department, the standards, mandated by Congress, would slash energy costs by $1.7 billion and are technologically achievable for gas and electric stoves.
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