The Dumbest Reactions to the Non-Existent Gas Stove Ban

The Dumbest Reactions to the Non-Existent Gas Stove Ban

Welcome to 2023, where the culture wars have come for your cooktop.

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The signature in the oven window? That’s the Ron DeSantis personal touch.
The signature in the oven window? That’s the Ron DeSantis personal touch.
Screenshot: Twitter / Gizmodo

A swift turnaround from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission gave the media whiplash earlier this week. On Monday, a commissioner from the watchdog agency, Richard Trumka Jr., indicated CPSC was considering new restrictions on gas stoves over mounting health concerns.

Then, after an overwrought backlash mainly from the political right, the federal regulator backed off. “I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so,” Alexander Hoehn-Saric, CPSC’s chair, wrote in a tweeted statement. Trumka, too, clarified that any CPSC action wouldn’t impact existing stoves, just new products.

But the damage was done. Overnight, gas stoves became symbol of possible government overreach. (Mostly) Republican politicians took to Twitter to voice their outrage and opposition to the idea of the feds dictating anything about household appliances. And those reactions, diatribes, and posts are still coming—despite the CPSC saying it, again, is not planning to ban gas stoves.

Why the debate?

About 40 million U.S. households currently have gas stoves. However, scientists have long warned that gas-fueled appliances can create unhealthy levels of indoor air pollution—leaking nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, and benzene into peoples’ homes. Research has linked gas stoves to heart disease and cancer. And one recent study estimated that more than one-fifth of all childhood asthma cases are caused by gas stoves.

In addition to the health downsides, the appliances are also pretty awful for the environment. If you haven’t guessed already, the “gas” in gas stoves means “natural gas,” i.e. methane—the greenhouse gas more than 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The appliances have an estimated annual climate impact equivalent to that of 500,000 gas-powered cars, according to one 2022 study. And in response, Berkeley, California, New York City, and dozens of other municipalities have passed legislations to restrict gas hook-ups in future buildings.

But because gas stoves run on fossil fuel, the fossil fuel industry has worked hard to ensure the appliances remain popular, going as far as paying influencers and industry groups to sing their praises, as well as pouring money into political campaigns and lobbying efforts.

Although many legislators have framed their opposition to “banning” gas stoves as one based in belief in personal freedom and the need for U.S. energy independence, remember that fossil fuel companies spend tens of millions of dollars every year on election campaigns.

Here are some of the most notable, stupidest, and outright strangest of the (often fossil-funded) responses to the gas stove ban that wasn’t.

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It Begins

It Begins

Screenshot of tweet
Ronny Jackson represents Texas’ 13th District and loves CAPS LOCK.
Screenshot: Twitter / Gizmodo

Congressional Rep Ronny Jackson got in on the action early, tweeting this zinger out just a few hours after Bloomberg first reported the CPSC was possibly considering new restrictions on gas stoves. It prompted a pretty decent burn from NY Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in response, and things appeared to snowball from there.

Note: Many of Jackson’s top campaign contributors were oil and gas companies, and he received tens of thousands of dollars in financing from fossil fuel corps like Discovery Operating, Double Eagle Development, and Burk Royalty.

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Cue the Memes

Cue the Memes

Screenshot of a tweet
Thank you, “Doochebag,” for your service.
Screenshot: Twitter / Gizmodo

In response to AOC’s response, the internet predictably began to get weird. Memes came in fast from Twitter users whose profiles say things like “death is a preferable alternative to communism.”

But the memes didn’t stay sequestered to the shitposter accounts for long.

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Come And Take It

Come And Take It

Screenshot of tweet
Gizmodo can’t prove it, but the visible marker strokes and textured background suggest that House Rep. Alford actually sat down and doodled this.
Screenshot: Twitter / Gizmodo

In response to Ronny Jackson (and perhaps inspired by “Doochebag”), House Rep. Mark Alford, of Missouri, posted his own “meme.” The seemingly hand-drawn illustration immortalized the “come and take it,” slogan beneath a gas burner and a cutesy star.

Alford’s third largest campaign donor group was the automotive industry. He also received large contributions from contracting and trade groups that deal in natural gas infrastructure.

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Memes to Merch

Memes to Merch

Screenshot of website
Imagine buying this shirt on Monday, and then finding out there is no gas stove ban coming on Tuesday.
Screenshot: Republican Part of Kentucky / Gizmodo

At this point, I lose track of the timeline. But timing doesn’t really matter here. What does matter is that the Republican Party of Kentucky was apparently so moved by Alford and Jackson’s posts that the organization made a T-shirt.

For a suggested minimum donation of $36, you could be the proud owner of a “Come And Take It” stove tee.

And surprise, surprise—one of the largest corporate donors to the Kentucky party during the most recent election cycle was PPL Corp, a natural gas company.

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Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis

Screenshot of tweet
The signature in the oven window? That’s the Ron DeSantis personal touch.
Screenshot: Twitter / Gizmodo

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis couldn’t resist joining in. He posted his very own signed ovens in solidarity. And he didn’t stop there...

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DeSantis Does Merch

DeSantis Does Merch

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The apron is, admittedly, more clever than the shirt.
Screenshot: Gizmodo / WinRed.com

If you don’t want to pay the Kentucky Republican Party for a T-shirt but you still want to rep gas stoves and “small government,” fear not. You can give your money to Gov. DeSantis’ ongoing campaign instead.

For just $25, you could be the proud owner of an apron that encapsulates the important ideological reasons behind your choice to stoop over a cooktop emitting noxious fumes.

Wondering why DeSantis is going so hard on the stove thing? Maybe because he’s eyeing a presidential run and wants to boost popular support. And maybe it’s also because he’s received massive financial contributions from the fossil fuel industry. Energy Transfer, a pipeline company, and the founder of Midland Energy Inc. have each contributed $50,000 to the governor’s campaign coffers, according to a report from E&E News. Koch Industries gave a further $25,000 to DeSantis’ PAC.

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Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz

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Jill Biden, caught with spatula in hand—alert the presses!
Screenshot: Twitter / Gizmodo

For Senator Ted Cruz, it’s personal. Or at least personal enough to rifle through the Bidens’ social media and find a picture of Jill Biden cooking spinach.

Remember, even if the CPSC does opt to one day issue new safety regulations on gas stoves and appliances, the consumer protection watchdog will not be coming to your house to take your stove.

But that truth is less important to Cruz than the $1.16 million in campaign contributions the Texas politician received from oil and gas companies during his last election cycle.

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More Cooking Pics

More Cooking Pics

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Gov. DeSantis’ press secretary will not be silent in the face of stove oppression.
Screenshot: Twitter / Gizmodo

Here, we briefly return back to DeSantis and his staff to note that his press secretary, Christina Pushaw, followed Cruz’s lead and dug up a picture of Vice President Kamala Harris standing near a gas stove.

Once again, any CPSC regulations would solely impact future products, not existing stoves, installed in peoples’ homes.

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Conspiracy Theories Ignite

Conspiracy Theories Ignite

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The more you know?
Screenshot: Twitter / Gizmodo

Nick Freitas is a former Virginia House Delegate aspiring to bigger things. He’s run two failed national political campaigns, one for a Republican Senate nomination and the other to be a U.S. House Rep.. And, apparently, he’s also aspiring to start a conspiracy theory that the government wants to steal your gas stoves so it can cut off your power.

Though he didn’t win in his recent House race, the oil and gas industry did try to help—donating $37,089 to the cause.

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JJ’s Three G’s

JJ’s Three G’s

Screenshot of tweet
As the Bible says.
Screenshot: Gizmodo / Twitter

Congressman Jim Jordan kept his gas stove endorsement simple.

During his last campaign cycle, the Ohio representative received tens of thousands of dollars from the oil and gas industry. One of his top five individual contributors was Koch Industries.

Jordan also raked in more than $40,000 from gun rights groups for his election run. God, however, was not listed as a campaign donor.

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Joe Manchin

Joe Manchin

Screenshot of tweet
Absolute, 100%, pure, unadulterated posting perfection.
Screenshot: Twitter / Gizmodo

It just wouldn’t be a story about fossil fuel interests and American politics without a mention of Joe Manchin, West Virginia Senator and coal baron extraordinaire.

In 2022, Manchin was the single biggest recipient of fossil fuel industry funding out of all national legislators—even though he’s not up for re-election until 2024. The federal government can’t tell him how to cook, but oil and gas companies often seem to dictate his policy decisions.

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