Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm acknowledged Thursday that she owns a gas stove, a remark that came as she simultaneously defended a rule that would ban at least half of all gas stoves on the U.S. market from being sold.
"There's no ban on gas stoves. I have a gas stove," Granholm said in defense of the proposed rule, which aims to "confront the global climate crisis" by imposing energy conservation standards on cooking appliances. "It is just about making the existing electric and gas stoves—and all the other appliances—more efficient."
Just weeks before Granholm's comments, however, the Energy Department released an analysis that found roughly half of all gas stoves on the U.S. market today would not meet the rule's requirements. As a result, American consumers would be unable to purchase those stoves. Still, Granholm argued that the rule's impact on the gas stove market is no cause for concern. "The full range of gas stoves absolutely is not affected," she said Thursday. "In fact, half of the gas stoves that are on the market right now wouldn't even be impacted."
Granholm's admission comes roughly two months after a Biden-appointed federal regulator, Richard Trumka Jr., called gas stoves a "hidden hazard" that could be banned. The remark quickly sparked a political firestorm, prompting White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to walk back the threat. "The president does not support banning gas stoves," she said in January.
Despite Jean-Pierre's comments, the Biden administration has moved forward with regulatory action targeting gas stoves. In addition to the Energy Department, the Consumer Product Safety Commission last month voted to seek public input on gas stoves, a move Trumka called "an important milestone on the road to protecting consumers from potential hidden hazards in their homes—the emissions from gas stoves."
While Granholm argued Thursday that her department's rule would only affect half of the gas stove market, others disagree. Republican lawmakers and industry leaders say it would actually nullify 96 percent of gas stoves, a figure that comes from a December Energy Department test of 21 gas stove models. All but one of those models failed to meet the rule's proposed efficiency standards.
"It's like they're in such a rush to regulate these products, and they're trying to cover their tracks. But they're doing an incredibly poor job of it," Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers vice president Jill Notini said in February. "We've never seen this level of sloppy analysis from DOE before."