Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean the government isn’t coming for your appliances.
“People can rest assured that no one is coming for their gas stoves,” the Sierra Club magazine reported just two weeks ago, echoing the media’s coverage of the public’s reaction to reports a Biden administration official was suggesting a ban.
In fact, Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Richard Trumka, Jr. said explicitly that gas stovetops are “a hidden hazard” adding, “Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.” The White House quickly disavowed the statement and multiple media outlets ran “fact checks” insisting the Biden administration had no interest in a gas stove ban. The New York Times even wrote, “No One Is Coming for Your Gas Stove Anytime Soon.”
But if you live in Massachusetts, that may depend on your definition of the word “soon.”
“Massachusetts could become the latest front in the culture war clash over gas stoves, with legislative proposals being considered that would restrict or ban the fossil-fuel powered appliances in new homes,” the Eagle-Tribune reports. “On Beacon Hill, a group of progressive Democratic lawmakers has filed proposals that would require the state to draft regulations restricting gas ranges and other appliances in new construction.”
And Boston’s progressive Mayor Michelle Wu isn’t waiting around for legislation. “Meeting our climate goals starts with ending our use of fossil fuels, so I’m signing an executive order requiring all new city construction and major renovations in our schools, municipal buildings, and public housing to be entirely fossil-fuel free,” Wu said in her State of the City speech last week. “And because ‘green’ and ‘affordable’ go hand in hand, together with the Boston Housing Authority, by 2030, we will end the use of fossil fuel in the city’s public housing developments.”
Ending the use of fossil fuels means ending the use of gas stoves.
Massachusetts is hardly alone. In 2021, New York City passed a ban on gas-fired appliances in new buildings. The state’s governor is asking the legislature to do the same. Last year, Los Angeles joined the movement, one of 60 municipalities in California to join the gas-ban movement.
And while the Biden administration hasn’t banned gas stoves — yet — the “Inflation Reduction Act” includes millions of dollars to subsidize the purchase of electric ranges or induction cooktops to replace gas appliances.
In New Hampshire, the state passed a law in 2021 preventing municipalities from banning natural gas hookups. Housing industry experts say that will likely add to the list of advantages the Granite State has over Massachusetts in the competition for new residents and businesses. New Hampshire’s population has been growing since 2019 while the Bay State’s has been falling.
Matt Mayberry with the New Hampshire Homebuilder’s Association is not a fan of the ban-gas-stoves movement.
“New Hampshire consumers should decide how they want to cook their meals, not some bureaucrat in Washington D.C. — who probably eats out at restaurants instead of trying to make a paycheck last until the next payday.”