The most recent culture war dispute in America, about the future of gas stoves, has now reached the New Jersey Statehouse.
A pair of Republican state legislators have announced that they will present a bill that would prohibit any ban on gas stoves from being enacted in New Jersey, echoing Republicans throughout the country who have recently warned that Democratic officials are attempting to outlaw the appliances.
An official of a U.S. government product-safety agency called gas stoves “a hidden concern” due to pollution and stated that banning them was under consideration.
Since then, the administration of President Joe Biden has stated that he does not support a federal ban, even though some Democrats have expressed concern about the stoves. Furthermore, the agency at the centre of the controversy stressed that there are no urgent plans to instal one.
On Wednesday, however, state Senate Minority Leader Steven Oroho, R-Sussex, and state Senator Joe Pennachio, R-Morris, unveiled the New Jersey bill. Oroho, the highest-ranking Republican in Trenton, stated that “we cannot allow” Biden and Gov. Phil Murphy, both Democrats, to prohibit inexpensive energy sources while New Jersey families struggle with rising prices and inflation.
Oroho continued, “We certainly do not need Democrats in our kitchens telling us how to prepare dinner.”
Murphy has proposed that by 2050, New Jersey transition from natural gas to renewable energy. However, his plan does not expressly outlaw gas stoves at the state level. The governor has also not officially backed this restriction.
Murphy’s office declined to comment on the Republican initiative, stating that it does not discuss ongoing legislation.
The firestorm is the most recent issue about which Republicans around the nation have expressed worry in recent months. In an interview with Bloomberg last month, a commissioner for the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission stated that the agency was considering banning gas stoves in the United States.
“Products that cannot be made safe can be outlawed,” Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. said, adding that “all options are on the table” for regulating them.
In December, researchers published a study linking 13% of childhood asthma cases to natural gas-burning stoves due to the contaminants they emit.
Later, Trumka stressed that his commission “isn’t coming for anyone’s gas stoves” because any prohibition would only apply to new gas stoves, not existing gas stoves.
Republicans — and at least one Democrat — leapt on the statements, claiming that the government intended to remove gas-powered stoves from millions of American homes.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd District, New Jersey, announced he will file legislation in Congress to prevent federal agencies from banning gas stoves.
According to the White House, Biden “does not advocate banning gas stoves,” and “the independent Consumer Product Safety Commission is not outlawing gas stoves.”
In the meantime, despite the fact that the commission has contemplated such a ban for months, its chairman, Alexander Hoehn-Saric, stated in a statement that he is “not seeking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no such procedure.”
In addition, the panel stated that any effort to regulate the appliances would be a “lengthy procedure.”
“Agency staff intends to begin collecting public data and opinions on potential gas stove hazards and proposed solutions to those hazards later this year,” the CPSC said. “Commission staff continues to collaborate with voluntary standards organisations to investigate gas stove emissions and resolve potential dangers.”
Several Democrats have requested that the commission address stoves. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, and U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, D-Virginia, sent a letter to the chair of the CPSC last month requesting the commission to address “the hazards posed to consumers by indoor air pollution caused by gas stoves.”
Beyer also refuted Republican fears of a ban by tweeting, “there has been a great deal of gaslighting on this issue.”
The congressman wrote, “To be clear, I didn’t ask for a ban on gas stoves.” “(Booker) and I sent a letter to the CPSC requesting that they examine strategies to lessen potential health hazards, including childhood asthma.”
Pennachio, one of the Republican lawmakers pushing the new bill in New Jersey, also warned that Murphy’s Energy Master Plan — a series of proposals his administration has proposed to combat the consequences of climate change in the Garden State — could result in a ban on gas stoves at the state level.
“A federal ban on gas stoves may be on hold for the time being, but we know that Governor Murphy’s costly green energy plan will require New Jersey homeowners and businesses to electrify everything, including their stoves, water heaters, and furnaces,” said Pennachio.
Murphy has stated that New Jersey is “ground zero” for climate change and that if no action is taken, “future generations will find it difficult to generate Jersey Coast memories if the Jersey shore becomes a memory.”
As part of his plan to combat climate change, the governor proposes electrifying buildings and water heating systems. However, there is no mention of stoves or other appliances.
Republicans have vehemently opposed Murphy’s Energy Master Plan, arguing that it will be too expensive.
According to the plan’s proponents, not only is it vital to combat climate change, but also to combat the rise in gas prices that has contributed to an increase in energy expenses. Late last year, energy prices in New Jersey climbed by 25%.
To become law, the Republican gas stove bill must pass both houses of the Democratic-controlled state legislature and be approved by Governor Murphy.
Democrats are attempting to prevent Republicans from seizing control of the chambers for the first time in twenty years. In November, all 120 legislative seats are up for election, two years after Republicans gained seven seats.