New York Republican Criticizes State’s Plan to Phase Out Gas Stoves

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
March 28, 2023New York
New York Republican Criticizes State’s Plan to Phase Out Gas Stoves
A kitchen gas stove burner at a residential property in Melbourne, Australia, on June 16, 2022. (Joel Carrett/AAP Image)

Rob Ortt, the Republican minority leader in the New York State Senate, has argued that new legislation banning gas stoves will harm everyday consumers but won’t meaningfully reduce carbon emissions.

The proposed gas stove legislation would prohibit the installation of “fossil fuel equipment” and building systems in the construction of new one-family and smaller multi-family homes, beginning Dec. 31, 2025. The same prohibition applies to larger multi-family homes and commercial buildings starting Dec. 31, 2028.

The Democrat-led state legislature is currently considering attaching the new fossil fuel building regulations to a $227 billion budget bill that focuses more broadly on how the state will phase out the use of fossil fuels in the coming years.

“I think it’s ridiculous, and I think the danger is that it almost seems comedic, and so people can take it, you know, maybe not as seriously as they should,” Ortt said in an interview with Fox News. “It is going to increase people’s utility rates in the state of New York, it is going to decrease energy reliability in the state of New York, and it will do nothing to fight climate change.”

“We’re not going to stop the polar ice caps from melting because my mom has to use an electric stove,” Ortt added.

Ortt described the proposed gas stove legislation as an “attack on working people who pay utility rates.”

While proponents of the gas stove ban see it as a step in the transition away from fossil fuels, Ortt said the only actual result it will achieve is driving employers and tax-paying residents out of the state.

“All we’re going to have is less people living here, higher taxes, less energy reliability,” Ortt told Fox News. “Our policy here in New York for a long time has been to export jobs and import energy. That is the New York energy policy. And, obviously, it’s been a bad one.”

Proponents Seek Gas Stove Bans Beyond New York

California and Washington have limited the use of gas stoves in new homes, achieving these bans through changes in building codes rather than new legislation. The New York proposal would add another state to the list opposing gas stoves. It could serve as model legislation for other state legislatures seeking to codify similar limits on gas stoves.

“All eyes are on us, and a lot of other states are looking to what New York does,” Pat McClellan, policy director at the New York League of Conservation Voters, told Politico last week. “If we prove it can be done and we have the political will to do this, it’s going to open the floodgates for other states to take action.”

National Debate

The topic of gas stoves has sparked a national debate recently.

In a January interview with Bloomberg News, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. said that his agency is considering banning gas-powered stoves.

Trumka cited concerns about pollutants and research indicating links between their use and childhood asthma.

“This is a hidden hazard,” Trumka said. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”

CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric later said that the commission is not “looking to ban gas stoves, and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.”

In February, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) proposed a new regulation for how much gas certain gas-powered stoves can consume. The DOE’s analysis indicated the new regulation would impact about half of the available gas stoves.

Ortt said he prefers keeping all energy sources on the table rather than opposing fossil fuels.

“Whether it’s nuclear, natural gas, wind, solar, electric, you want as diversified an approach as possible,” he told Fox News. “That’s going to keep costs down, and that’s what’s going to keep reliability up, and it’s what’s going to keep people safe and keep people here in New York and keep companies investing in New York.”

Gas Stoves and Asthma

While eliminating gas stoves may be one way to reduce fossil fuel consumption, some believe the idea would also lead to better personal health for families that have used gas stoves.

The Colorado-based green energy advocacy group Rocky Mountain Institute published a study (pdf) in November that attributes nearly 13 percent of childhood asthma nationwide to gas stove use.

“Gas stove usage should be considered in multi-faceted asthma prevention approaches,” the Rocky Mountain Institute researchers said. “Given that this exposure is preventable, our study demonstrates that known mitigation strategies will lessen childhood asthma burden from gas stoves.”

Contrasting with the Rocky Mountain Institute’s study, a new review (pdf) by Catalyst Environmental Solutions determined the type of cooking appliances that are used are “not a significant determinant of residential indoor air quality.” The review, supported by the California Restaurant Association and California Building Industry Association, found that certain types of food and cooking oils used in kitchens can release harmful chemicals to humans.

“The health effects from what is being cooked have been shown to be greater than those from the heat source itself,” the Catalyst Environmental Solutions review stated.