The White House is more focused on efforts to ban your gas stoves than replenishing the emergency oil reserves.
That was the message from U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, who appeared before the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
At a budget hearing for the 2024 fiscal year, Washington Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse pressed the energy secretary over a draft rule proposed in February that would outlaw “96 percent of tested residential gas stove tops.” The proposed rule, Newhouse said, would put gas stoves out of reach for most Americans.
“There is no ban on gas stoves. I have a gas stove,” Granholm said. “It is just about making the existing electric and gas stoves and all the other appliances more efficient. It is a proposed rule, so the full range of gas stoves, absolutely, is not affected.”
“In fact, half the gas stoves that are on the market right now wouldn’t even be impacted,” Granholm added, explaining the stoves that would be impacted are “high-end” appliances that, she said, constitute a “wasteful use of natural gas.”
The remarks follow controversial comments from Richard Trumka Jr., a Biden appointee to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), who mused about an outright ban on gas stoves, telling Bloomberg in January, “any option is on the table.”
“Products that can’t be safe can be banned,” said Trumka.
Public outrage led the administration to backtrack on the proposal and pledge that no federal ban was being considered.
“I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so,” said Commission Chairman Alex Hoehn-Saric.
A memo published by Fox News last month, however, shows federal regulators were far more serious about efforts to ban the gas appliance than they let on following public outcry.
“The need for gas stove regulation has reached a boiling point,” Trumka wrote in the October memo. “CPSC has the responsibility to ban consumer products that emit hazardous substances, particularly, when those emissions harm children, under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.”
The effort to ban the gas appliance draws on left-wing myths that the stoves are a primary source of respiratory problems through indoor emissions. Such claims, however, have nothing to do with science and everything to do with radical climate activism and efforts to eliminate fossil fuels.
[WATCH: Harsanyi: Gas Stove Bans Are Part Of The Left’s Culture War]
Such activism has simultaneously left replenishing the nation’s emergency petroleum reserves a low priority, if one at all, for the administration.
Granholm told lawmakers Thursday it will take years to fill up the emergency stockpile after the president’s obvious attempt to exploit the reserves for political capital by making an unprecedented drawdown.
Authorized to maintain 714 million barrels of crude oil, the Department of Energy reported the stockpile held more than 695 million barrels in 2016. After President Joe Biden ordered 260 million barrels tapped from the emergency stockpile despite no actual emergency, the nation’s petroleum reserves are now at their lowest levels since 1983. Documents revealed in a public records request two months ago exposed how the administration carefully timed drawdowns with already forecasted energy price dips.
Biden officials have said the administration would move forward with plans to refill the reserves once oil returns to $70 per barrel. The price point arrived this week when benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell below $70 per barrel. Granholm, however, told lawmakers the agency would not refill the emergency stockpile just yet.
“This year, it will be difficult for us to take advantage of this low price,” Granholm said. “But we will continue to look for that low price into the future because we intend to be able to save the taxpayer dollars.”
Another top Biden adviser said last week the administration was in no hurry to refill the reserves.
In other words, regulating gas stoves out of existence is far more important.