Rep. Huizenga Raises Alarm Over Chinese Links to Group Pushing Gas Stove Ban

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
February 28, 2023Politics
Rep. Huizenga Raises Alarm Over Chinese Links to Group Pushing Gas Stove Ban
Flames burn on a natural gas-burning stove in Chicago on Jan. 12, 2023. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) is sounding the alarm about links between China and an organization that has advocated against the continued use of gas stoves in the United States.

Gas stoves have been the subject of increased debate in recent weeks after a recent study linked their use with an increased risk of childhood asthma, while a government safety regulator raised the possibility of banning or more strictly regulating their use. The Department of Energy recently proposed a regulation that would prohibit about half of the gas stoves currently on the market.

Huizenga sent a letter (pdf) to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Monday, alleging the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)—an organization that has advocated for increased restrictions on gas stoves—has “considerable documented ties to the Chinese government.”

The Rocky Mountain Institute is an organization that advocates for the adoption of increased energy efficiency and the adoption of more sustainable business practices. RMI researchers co-authored the recent study, which found that up to 12.7 percent of childhood asthma cases could be linked to gas stove use.

RMI operates an office in China’s capital city of Beijing, and has worked with China’s communist regime on efforts to transition away from fossil fuels.

Huizenga’s letter listed a variety of instances in which officials in President Joe Biden’s administration have worked with RMI. The congressman also said White House visitor logs showed RMI officials visiting more than once in 2022, while the DOE has announced millions of dollars in grants to RMI—including as recently as February. Huizenga also cited records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request that indicated Granholm met directly with RMI CEO Jules Kortenhorst in June 2021.

“Given China’s active undermining of our nation’s energy independence, RMI’s blatant longtime connections to the Chinese government should be alarming to any member of the Cabinet. Their ties are no secret,” Huizenga wrote to Granholm.

In an interview with Fox News, Huizenga said, “The Biden Administration has not been honest with the American people about its desire to ban gas stoves.”

“I remain deeply concerned that the Biden Administration has granted elevated access to an entity with Chinese ties in pursuit of a radical energy agenda that will raise costs on American families and small businesses,” Huizenga continued.

RMI recently argued that gas stoves pose risks to personal health while contributing to the climate change problem.

“As an independent global non-profit, RMI has worked with and alongside governments around the world for four decades to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively bring about a clean energy transition,” said Rachel Sarah, a spokesperson for the Rocky Mountain Institute. “We aim to work with any entity accelerating the transition to a zero-carbon future and securing its benefits for all. We share our research and analysis routinely with governments, policymakers of both parties, fellow non-profit organizations and corporations, including those in the fossil fuel business.”

Chinese Interests in US Green Energy

The Biden administration has characterized the U.S. relationship with China as one of competition, but has said that combating climate change is one area where the two countries could cooperate.

Some observers have expressed their skepticism of China’s commitment to clean energy and to addressing climate change. While China has promoted green energy projects in other parts of the world, the country has expanded its own coal production.

In a November 2022 interview with NTD, Silicon Valley author Ann Bridges warned that U.S. efforts to move away from fossil fuels would increase U.S. reliance on green energy production—which is heavily reliant on China.

Co-author of the bookGroundbreaking! America’s New Quest for Mineral Independence,” Bridges noted that most of the rare earth minerals used in computer chips and batteries for electric cars are controlled by China, which “has really created a reliance on a single country for the technology and the tools that the rest of the world uses for our daily life.” Bridges said China’s dominance in the rare earth minerals market could lead to the communist regime establishing itself as “the choke point for much of the rest of the world’s industry and growth.”

Battle Over Gas Stoves

Last month, Huizenga and Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.) introduced the Stop Trying to Obsessively Vilify Energy (STOVE) Act, which would preempt any attempts by executive branch agencies to regulate gas stoves and other gas-powered appliances.

While Mooney and several Republican lawmakers have opposed new regulations on gas stoves, many Democrat lawmakers have favored new regulations.

In December, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) joined with 16 other Democrat lawmakers and Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in writing a letter (pdf) to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission calling for new regulations on gas stoves.

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