Wyoming’s congressional delegation is siding with the gas stove.
For decades, scientists have investigated — and found evidence of — the health hazards of burning natural gas indoors. Then a peer-reviewed study published last month linked gas stove use to a higher risk of childhood asthma, and quickly sparked a bitter political dispute.
An analysis of previously published research, the study determined that nearly 13% of childhood asthma cases may result from gas stove use. That percentage, the authors noted, “is similar to the childhood asthma burden attributed to secondhand smoke exposure.”
The study, though challenged by the natural gas industry, gave rise to concern about what gas stoves might be doing to household air quality.
Then Richard Trumka Jr., a member of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, called gas stoves “a hidden hazard,” Bloomberg reported. “Any option is on the table,” Trumka added. “Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”
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The agency’s head, Alexander Hoehn-Saric, clarified earlier this month, within days of Trumka’s comments, that it has no intention of banning gas stoves. But the damage had already been done.
Wyoming’s members of Congress and many other prominent Republicans have since made it clear that they won’t let gas stoves go without a fight.
Only a few weeks into her first term in Washington, Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo. who was named recently to the House Natural Resources Committee, has already signed on to two resolutions that would block federal agencies from banning gas stoves.
“Federal overreach into all of our lives is a serious issue,” Hageman said in an emailed statement. “Imagine a government that can dictate how you can prepare your family dinner ... we must take back control from the government and safeguard our personal freedoms.”
Hageman tweeted a photo of herself standing at a gas stove on Thursday, with the caption, “I’m glad to be home cooking a lovely dinner for my husband on my assault stove on this chilly evening.”
Also on Thursday, Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and nine other senators sent a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, expressing “strong opposition to reporting that certain members ... may seek an outright ban on gas ranges and stoves,” and concern that “deciding to ban gas stoves would distort the marketplace and ultimately raise costs for consumers.”
Hageman, Lummis and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., each pointed in recent statements to the prospect of a ban on gas stoves as another example of Democrats’ targeted attacks on the natural gas industry. (Some U.S. cities have banned gas stoves, and other gas appliances, in new buildings due to concerns about their greenhouse gas emissions.)
Barrasso, who is the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has repeatedly voiced his support for natural gas and other fossil fuels, and has long criticized largely Democrat-led efforts to curtail fossil fuel consumption rapidly in response to climate change.
Ultimately, Barrasso said in an emailed statement, “unelected and unaccountable Washington bureaucrats shouldn’t make decisions for Wyoming families.”