If you’re confused about why random, seemingly nonsensical tweets about the government coming for your gas stoves have taken over your Twitter feed, well, I’m here to help.
Republicans took to social media this week pledging to protect their precious gas stoves at all cost. Yes you read that right… gas stoves.
“I’ll NEVER give up my gas stove,” Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) tweeted on Tuesday. “If the maniacs in the White House come for my stove, they can pry it from my cold dead hands. COME AND TAKE IT!!”
The flame caught on, and others followed suit.
“You’ll have to pry it from my COLD DEAD HANDS!,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, paired with a video of his dirty stovetop.
“God. Guns. Gas stoves,” fellow MAGA-infused Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) wrote.
Former South Carolina governor and ex-Trump administration official Nikki Haley also joined the chorus.
“First, the liberals came for our light bulbs,” Haley tweeted on Thursday. “Then, they came for our cars. Now, they’re coming for our stoves.”
I can keep going but y’all get the point.
Now, before we get into it, let’s make it clear that President Joe Biden and federal agencies aren’t proposing any stove bans. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre even told reporters explicitly this week that “the President does not support banning gas stoves.”
But in an unfortunate echo of the discussions around climate change a decade ago, conservatives are casting scientific evidence as an affront to the American way of life. Of course, there’s the potential political benefit that comes along with a new go-round of fear mongering rooted in the now-very-familiar “the government is coming for your rights.”
The political fight for gas stoves — which again is mostly a reflection of the central role outrage plays in conservative politics and MAGAland’s enthusiasm for spinning anything they can get on their Twitter feeds into a culture war — was fired up following a scientific article published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The peer-reviewed study found that 12.7% of “current childhood asthma in the US is attributable to gas stove use.”
But all hell broke loose when a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Richard Trumka Jr., suggested to Bloomberg that his agency should consider regulating or even banning the appliances. “Products that can’t be made safe can be banned,” Trumka said.
But, Trumka actually withdrew a proposal to regulate gas stoves last fall after it failed to gain support from his four fellow commissioners, according to Politico’s E&E News.
Amidst all the Republican outrage, Trumka’s boss, Head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric, shot down the notion that his agency is on the cusp of banning gas stoves.
“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,” Hoehn-Saric said in a statement this week, according to Politico.
But it was too late, because the gas stove panic of 2023 had already begun.
So again, the federal government is NOT coming for your stoves any time soon.
But the gas-stove hysteria isn’t entirely new. Before this week’s Twitter frenzy, there was already significant backlash building in red states across the country after cities pursuing bans on new gas lines to buildings.
Since 2019, some liberal cities and municipalities have passed ordinances requiring all new construction to be powered by electricity instead of gas — but the efforts have been largely local.
Berkeley, California was the first city to pass that ordinance. And as of September 2021, at least 50 other cities and counties in California have followed suit, putting in place new building codes that would help to phase out fossil fuels, according to Vox.
So, much of the supposed war on gas stoves is actually an effort for cities across the country to decrease their carbon footprints by trying to stop installing natural gas in new buildings. And while the federal government has made clear gas stoves aren’t going anywhere, the growing public health concerns may increase the push at the local level.
So unfortunately, declarations by members of Congress that they’re ready to die for their stoves may remain part of our political future.