FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL—President Joe Biden’s administration signaled a move against gas stoves before claiming that it’s not considering a ban. Regulation on gas stoves would affect how Americans cook their Christmas dinners.
The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit Wednesday to reveal the administration’s communications on the issue. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
“Much like how the Grinch took everything from the citizens of Whoville around Christmastime, the Biden administration wants to regulate every aspect of your life, down to what type of stove you cook your family’s Christmas dinner on,” Kyle Brosnan, the Oversight Project’s chief counsel, told The Daily Signal in a statement Wednesday. “We’re suing to see what exactly those plans are.”
The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission signaled a move against gas stoves in January. Richard Trumka Jr., a commission member and son of the former secretary-general of the AFL-CIO, told Bloomberg, “This is a hidden hazard. Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”
Trumka also circulated a memo with the title “[Notice of Proposed Rulemaking] Proposing Ban on Gas Stoves (Indoor Air Quality).”
Alexander Hoehn-Saric, the commission’s chairman, released a statement a few days later, disavowing any intent to ban gas stoves.
“Over the past several days, there has been a lot of attention paid to gas stove emissions and to the Consumer Product Safety Commission,” Hoehn-Saric said. “Research indicates that emissions from gas stoves can be hazardous, and the CPSC is looking for ways to reduce related indoor air-quality hazards. But to be clear, I am not looking to ban gas stoves, and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.”
Even so, Trumka’s comments sparked significant debate, and the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to prohibit the commission from regulating or banning gas stoves. The legislation, which passed with some Democratic support, did not get a hearing in the Senate.
In February, The Heritage Foundation filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all commission records related to Trumka’s memo and gas stoves between Dec. 1, 2021, and Jan. 8, 2023. It also seeks communications with Biden’s office on the issue.
While the commission initially promised in February to deliver the records requested, it had not turned over any gas stove records by Thursday. The commission sent a June 21 letter explaining that staff had identified “approximately 5,000 pages of emails” and estimated that “it will take approximately 6-9 months from today’s date for staff to review all of the records and process them prior to release.”
The Oversight Project also applied for a fee waiver, which the commission denied.
This delay in producing documents, along with actions such as the fee-waiver denial, violates the Freedom of Information Act, the Oversight Project contends.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asks the court to order the commission to conduct the search for records and order the commission to produce responsive documents within 20 days of the court’s order, or by another date the court deems appropriate. It also asks the court to grant the project attorney’s fees and to block the commission from assessing fees or costs in the provision of records.
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