U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) deserve credit for their bipartisan legislation to stop the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from spending taxpayer money to regulate gas stoves.
Their measure has just one problem: It’s too nice.
Like a cop who reaches a crime scene in an overly tight uniform, this bill is welcome but too narrowly tailored.
Cruz-Manchin’s Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act puts the CPSC in its place. Americans should be free to cook whatever they like on whatever stoves they wish. This is none of Washington’s damned business. On this, as the English say, the Feds should sod off.
“I can tell you the last thing that would ever leave our house is the gas stove we cook on, and I will continue to fight any overreach by the CPSC,” Manchin said.
“Make no mistake, radical environmentalists want to stop Americans from using natural gas. The CPSC’s proposed ban on gas stoves is the latest egregious scaremongeringby the Far Left and their Biden administration allies,” said Cruz. “I am pleased to partner with Senator Manchin in this bipartisan effort to stop the federal government from issuing regulations that put the interests of the Green New Deal before the well-being of American families.”
One dodgy study in the Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health associates natural gas stoves with 13 percent of childhood asthma cases. Even if this rickety research has a casual relationship with sound science, it claims that 87 percent of childhood asthma cases are not associated with gas stoves. This is statistically significant.
A 2013 study published in the Lancet, Great Britain’s leading medical journal, was even more skeptical. It detected “no evidence of an association between the use of gas as a cooking fuel and either asthma symptoms or asthma diagnosis.”
Dueling studies aside, some 50 to 60 million Americans were childless last July, according to yet another study, this time from Michigan State University. Why deny these grownups gas stoves, if they use them to pursue happiness?
The federal government — at most — should recommend that parents of young children weigh the risks of natural-gas stoves (a widely disputed 13 percent correlation with asthma cases) versus the rewards (warm homes, hot meals, and boiled water — especially during life-threatening, disaster-driven power outages).
By giving the CPSC a well-deserved beatdown, Cruz-Manchin offers a sorely needed sucker punch for limited government and human freedom.
Cruz and Manchin need to go much, much further.
While this bill would handcuff CPSC, Team Biden already has moved on. Under their latest scheme, the Department of Energy (DOE) has proposed new “standards” that would make gas stoves impossible to build to Uncle Sam’s satisfaction. “Twenty of the 21 gas stove-top models that the Energy Department tested wouldn’t comply with its proposed standards,” the Wall Street Journal editorialized. So, 95 percent of gas stoves could be “standardized’ out of existence.
Removing these appliances from the market is precisely the point of these new “standards,” a lovely euphemism that is less alarming than “regulations” or “red tape.” “Standards” accomplish the same Big Government goals as do bans, but without sounding as scary as prohibitions.
If I hosted a party and, for some strange reason, decided to exclude professional basketball players, I ham-handedly could announce: “No NBA members allowed!” Instead, more craftily, I could say: “Due to safety concerns, no one over six-feet, six inches will be admitted.” This would keep the average Knick or Celtic on the outside, looking in.
DOE’s slithery approach is tougher to attack and deceptively less threatening.
But wait! DOE argues that its anointed gas stoves will save consumers money. How big a bonanza? DOE estimates $21.89 across a stove’s 14.5-year life or $1.50 annually. That’ll put the kids through college!
Cruz-Manchin could place DOE under the same restrictions as CSPC. This would stymie Team Biden for about 24 hours. Within a day or two, the Department of Health and Human Services would issue new “standards” to scuttle gas stoves.
Derail HHS, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development would leap in with “standards” on gas stoves in residences funded with HUD money, federal housing loans, or even mortgage-interest deductions.
And if stoves get protected, then these totalitarian scolds would impose lethal “standards” on natural-gas-fueled heaters, water heaters, air conditioners, barbecues, Bunsen burners, and more. Indeed, DOE has declared a War on Washing Machines, as if higher-priced, lower-quality “sustainable” washers would solve any of America’s compounding problems.
Rather than detaching its legs, one by one, the federal centipede should be crushed beneath a steel-cleated boot.
Cruz and Manchin should reimagine their bill as the War on Gas Termination Act of 2023. It should span just three sentences:
“No federal funds shall be used to prohibit, curtail, limit, or reduce the sale, re-sale, installation, or use of any legally available appliance, device, instrument, or product powered or propelled by natural gas.
“No federal employee may spend any official time on duty pursuing any such prohibition, curtailment, limitation, or reduction of any gas-fueled appliance, device, instrument, or product.
“Any federal employee engaged in anti-natural-gas activity that violates this Act shall be fined an amount not to exceed $100,000 per offense.”
Senators Cruz and Manchin should seek bipartisan sponsors for companion House legislation that Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R – California) could schedule for prompt consideration. House passage would build momentum for a Senate vote on a broader, tougher law — before it’s too late.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor.