When one of President Biden’s agencies announced it may consider a ban on natural gas stoves, based on shaky science, the idea was met with significant pushback from the industry, consumers, and members of Congress. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Richard Trumka Jr. said that “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.” It’s a silly fight, but gas stoves have been emblematic of this administration’s overarching assault on the oil and gas sector.
Regulatory obstacles, such as cumbersome permitting reviews, have considerably constrained oil and gas production and transportation during President Biden’s first term. The CPSC’s announcement considering a natural gas stove ban is the flip side of the playbook—demonizing an industry to create a narrative that the oil and gas sector must fight financially and legally. Even if the CPSC banned gas stoves and their authority to do so was fought in court, the very simple chaos and confusion it would cause encourages divestment from the natural gas sector.
Creating uncertainty with regards to staples of American life powered by oil and gas is one of the Left’s strongest tools. This president has proposed new regulations on natural gas pipelines, canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline, halted drilling on federal lands, and continued to delay publication of an offshore drilling plan.
Similar tactics are evident in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the law that seeks to deliver on the President’s climate change campaign promises. The passing of the IRA has shifted federal agencies’ attention to new measures needed to “implement the law’s climate provisions.” Bloomberg notes that the “biggest challenge may be in finishing rules that haven’t yet been proposed,” specifically rules limiting carbon dioxide emission from vehicles and power plants. While the goal of the administration is for these measures that encounter legal opposition to win in court, losing after long delays accomplishes a similar end goal: increasing the pressure on the sector and forcing companies and consumers to switch energy sources, often prematurely.
While the administration has used laws like NEPA to hamstring oil and gas production, using their agency’s narratives, such as the CPSC’s potential gas stove ban, offers another avenue to attack the sector. Incentivizing an all-of-the-above approach towards energy production is good, but doing so to the detriment of traditional energy sources we all rely on is not a long-term strategy for energy security.
President Biden’s assault on gas stoves goes beyond appliances; they simply want to throw the regulatory kitchen sink against all things related to oil and gas.