Fact Checkers Said Feds Were Not Planning To Ban Gas Stoves; Fact Checkers Were Wrong

Fact-checkers for multiple large U.S. media outlets determined that the federal government is not considering a ban or restrictions on natural gas-powered stoves. The fact-checkers were wrong.

March 21, 20237 min read

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Fact-checkers for multiple large U.S. media outlets determined that, despite online rumors saying the opposite, the federal government is not considering a ban or restrictions on natural gas-powered stoves. 

Their evidence is that federal officials said it’s not. 

The Biden administration’s Department of Energy recently began taking comments on proposed amendments to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which would ban up to 96% of stoves now on the market, said Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Arizona, who serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

Government Narrative

The act requires the DOE to periodically review the rules and determine if more stringent standards are technologically feasible and economically justified. 

Therefore, the department explains, the “DOE proposes new and amended energy conservation standards for consumer conventional cooking products.” 

Tom Shepstone, who runs Natural Gas Now, an online resource for content on hydraulic fracturing and natural gas development, told Cowboy State Daily that the legacy media are part of an “orchestrated strategy.” 

“The fact checking industry is nothing but a sham effort to discredit anybody who puts out facts that counter the government narrative,” Shepstone said.

Official Sources 

In a Jan. 9 Bloomberg article, Richard Trumka Jr., commissioner with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), described natural gas stove emissions as a “hidden hazard” that causes respiratory problems, and that “products that can’t be made safe can be banned.” 

Two days later, Bloomberg flat-out stated that “No Ban of Gas Stoves Is Planned, Head of US Safety Agency Says.”

The statements received widespread criticism. 

Fox News host Sean Hannity said during his Jan. 9 show that, “Now, not only is Biden coming for your paycheck, but he’s coming for your stove. You heard me right.”

Canadian conservative commentator Liz Churchill tweeted that day that the Biden administration was going to ban gas stoves and included a photo of First Lady Jill Biden cooking on a gas stove. 

Trumka walked back the comments, tweeting later that day, “To be clear, CPSC isn’t coming for your gas stoves.” 

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierra told reporters Jan. 11 that the president doesn’t support a ban on gas stoves.

That same day, CPSC chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric stated, “I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.” 

Outright Ban

In a column in The Washington Examiner last week, Lesko criticized the political left for dismissing the controversy as an “unsubstantiated, irrational conspiracy theory.” 

The energy department’s proposed rule, Lesko explained, would cause 96% of gas cooking appliances available today to be banned. 

“It is essentially an outright ban on gas stoves,” Lesko wrote. 

Lesko noted that the department’s estimations of consumer savings for the ban on gas stoves it’s proposing is $21.89 over the next 14.5 years, per person.  

The proposed rule came out at the end of January, but none of the fact checking sites have updated their articles to reflect the discrepancy between official sources and the proposed rules.

Overcooked Fears

Based on statements from the government saying that it had no intention of banning gas stoves, fact checkers reported that the government had no intention to ban gas stoves. 

The Associated Press called the controversy “overcooked fears.” 

“The notion that the government may regulate some stoves out of existence in the future isn’t totally baseless,” reporter Josh Kelety wrote in the AP fact check. 

The article explains that the fact check is part of “AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation.” 

Fact checking website Snopes also declared that there could be no possible way the government is planning to ban gas stoves and cited the comments from Hoehn-Saric as proof that bans weren’t in the works. 

The article goes on to explain that the agency is just “planning to gather feedback from the public and research products in response to concerns over their health risks.” 

Just Opinions

Politifact, a fact checking service of liberal nonprofit journalism outlet The Poynter Institute, declared that Hannity’s statement was false

The article cites numerous government sources to support its conclusions, as well as the Snopes article. It also cites a Washington Post story headlined, “How the humble gas stove became the latest flash point in the culture wars.” 

The Post article assures readers that regulators have no plans to ban gas stoves because they said so. 

The Poynter Institute was behind a Facebook fact check that landed the social media company a defamation suit from libertarian journalist John Stossel. 

In a 2020 video report, Stossel argued that an increase in forest fires is the result of poor forest management. While global warming makes the problem worse, Stossel reported, poor forest management was a big contributor. 

Facebook uses Poynter as its independent fact checker, and the institute claimed that Stossel had said that global warming wasn’t happening, even though Stossel explicitly stated in his report that it is a fact. 

Facebook’s lawyers responded to the lawsuit by claiming their fact checking is only opinions, which is a defense in libel suits. The lawsuit was dismissed in October 2022. 

Missing Context

Reuters concluded that a ban on gas stoves was a possibility. Unlike other fact checks on the issue, the article did note local laws that ban natural gas in new construction. 

The city council of Golden, Colorado, is considering a ban on all fossil fuel energy for new construction in that western suburb of Denver. It’s just the latest of dozens of communities that have passed or are considering such rules. 

Fact checkers often label claims as false for missing context, but none of the other fact checking outlets considered local bans as an important context to understanding a ban on gas stoves. 

Hayde Ludwig, director of policy research at Restoration of America, a nonprofit promoting conservative values, told Cowboy State Daily that the nationwide effort to ban gas stoves has billions of dollars behind it, a large portion of which is donated by wealthy individuals

“We know that that campaign started with coal, and now it’s since expanded to natural gas,” Ludwig said. 

The Bloomberg article quoting Trumka cited a Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) study that associated asthma incidents in homes with gas stoves. The organization collected $130 million in its latest reporting year. 

At the end of January, RMI issued a statement that the study does not “assume or estimate a causal relationship” between asthma and gas stoves. 

Ludwig said that well-funded groups like RMI and Sierra Club take credit when local-level bans of gas stoves. The Sierra Club keeps a running list of 74 cities and counties that have enacted such restrictions. 

“It sure sounds like a war on gas stoves if you ask me,” Ludwig said. “So, I have to laugh that they sent the partisan fact checkers to come attack us all. It’s just very laughable.”

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