WASHINGTON—The Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs today held a hearing titled “Cancelling Consumer Choice: Examining the Biden Administration’s Regulatory Assault on Americans’ Home Appliances” to continue an investigation into the Biden Administration’s wave of new regulatory burdens on American consumers’ everyday home appliances including, but not limited to, gas stoves, clothes washers, dishwashers, clothes dryers, air conditioners, and light bulbs. At the hearing, Subcommittee members asked Dr. Geraldine Richmond of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) questions to better understand how the DOE rules would raise costs and burdens and limit choices for American consumers. Members also pointed out DOE’s refusal to appear before the Subcommittee two months ago and emphasized the importance of agency transparency.
DOE’s proposed rule for gas stoves would impact at least half of new gas stoves sold in the U.S.
- Estimated conversion costs associated with complying with new and amended standards for gas stoves exceeds $183 million. This would substantially impact consumer choice while requiring households to adapt to new infrastructure with costly consequences.
- DOE’s own estimates project 96 percent of existing products on the market would be noncompliant if the proposed rule is finalized.
The Biden Administration’s gas stoves rule presents alarming violations of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA).
- Congress has the authority to question the extent of these proposed standards to determine whether they can be construed as both “technically feasible” and “economically justified.”
A radical environmental activist group filed a lawsuit to update “overdue” energy efficiency standards for commercial appliances, including gas stoves.
- These lawsuits directly overlap with the Biden Administration’s actions and raise concern that DOE is coordinating with outside groups to enact policy change and vault climate-related rules to the top of the Department’s agenda at the expense of consumer interests.
The Department of Energy delayed appearing for Congress for two months and attempted to limit the scope of the hearing.
- Agencies must appear when called before Congress to ensure accountability and transparency to taxpayers and the American people.
Subcommittee Chairman Pat Fallon (R-Texas) asked about the extent to which the Department of Energy is consulting with outside groups and stakeholders related to the proposed rules.
Chairman Fallon: “In October 2020, environmentalist groups filed a lawsuit to update overdue energy efficiency standards for appliances, which conveniently overlaps with the Biden Administration’s actions on energy efficiency standards. This is certainly a coincidence. Is the DOE coordinating with outside environmentalist groups to enact policy changes on energy efficiency standards?”
Dr. Richmond: “No, we do not consult with environmental groups in making our policy rules and decisions but once we have announced our proposal, then we take a lot of input, both on the web as well as meeting with stakeholders, but by no means is any outside group influencing the rules that we propose.”
Chairman Fallon: “Did you meet with the stakeholders that produce the stoves and other appliances? And do you feel that they are happy about your decisions?”
Dr. Richmond: “Well in this case, we take all the input, and then we discuss it. I think to say whether we’re happy or not with it at this point wouldn’t be appropriate, but we continue to listen, and many times negotiate with them on things to make it so that it’s not a burden to them.”
Rep. Scott Perry (R-Calif.) laid out the burdensome steps an American homeowner would have to take to switch from a gas to an eclectic stove to comply with DOE rules. Dr. Richmond could not answer when asked about how the process of switching to a new appliance would place extra burdens an American household.
Rep. Perry: “You said earlier that you do not coordinate with radical environmentalist groups, but in May, in a letter refusing to provide testimony at a hearing in this committee, DOE relied on a court-ordered consent decree initiated by radical environmentalist activist groups for the basis for not providing witnesses. If you don’t coordinate, why was that the case?”
Dr. Richmond: “That was to apply pressure for us to give a timeline for us to actually put the rule in place, which is now January 2024.”
Rep. Perry: “Do you know what it takes to put an electric stove in your home?”
Dr. Richmond: “No I don’t, but –”
Rep. Perry: “Here, I do. You’ve got to run a 220 line, which means you’re going to probably have to get an electrician. Because unless you know how to do that yourself, you’re playing with potentially losing your life and electrocuting yourself.
“Your township and municipality are not going to let you do it, you’re going to have to hire someone to come and drill holes in your floor, and pull wire to the panel, and hook that whole thing up. And how much is that going to cost? Is that included in your efficiency savings calculation?”
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) warned that the Biden Administration has been citing misleading studies authored by radical environmental extremists as rationale for their policies related to gas stoves.
Rep. Boebert: “From mandating new electric vehicles and electric stove mandates to promoting ESG extremism, to pushing radical Green New Deal policies, there’s one thing you can always count on in this administration to do, and that’s put the American people and our economy last.
“Dr. Richmond, do you believe, like many of your other colleagues in the Biden Administration, that gas stoves strongly contribute to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions?”
Dr. Richmond: “We believe that anything that puts out carbon dioxide does contribute.”
Rep. Boebert: “I’d respond by pointing out that many of the false and misleading studies that have been cited by this Administration to support banning gas stoves were authored and paid for by radical environmental extremists and activists with an agenda to ban fossil fuels entirely.”
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