EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is pushing back against the Biden administration’s regulations targeting popular home appliances including natural gas-powered furnaces and stoves.
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Manchin criticized the Department of Energy (DOE) for its aggressive energy efficiency rulemakings, arguing the agency should allow the free market to improve product technology rather than force such changes through regulation. Manchin, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, expressed concern with rules aimed at electrifying gas appliances.
“It absolutely shows you how disconnected the [DOE] is with the facts and reality of what’s happening to the grid system,” Manchin told Fox News Digital. “We’ve had so many warnings from [the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] and [North American Electric Reliability Corporation] and everybody else that the grid is strained to say the least.”
“And we’re taking more dispatchable power off the grid. That means 24/7, mostly fossil — because of the movement of this administration. It is putting us in the danger zone, the grid,” he continued. “With all the movement and demand for more electric appliances that would take the place of gas whether it be a stove or furnace. It absolutely makes no sense and is not in check with reality. Absolutely not.”
Over the last several months, the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has unveiled new standards for a wide variety of appliances including clothes washers, refrigerators, air conditioners and dishwashers. The administration boasted in December that it had taken 110 actions on energy efficiency rules in 2022 alone as part of its climate agenda.
The agency has taken particular aim at gas-powered appliances in an effort to curb carbon emissions and tackle global warming. Climate activists have argued that electrification, banning natural gas hookups and implementing strict energy efficiency standards could reduce reliance on fossil fuels, but experts have expressed concern such a shift could strain the power grid and lead to increased consumer costs.
In February, the DOE proposed gas stove rules that would, if implemented, eliminate an estimated 50% of the current stove models on the market. And the agency is expected to soon finalize gas furnace regulations that are expected to wipe out 60% of current models.
“You cannot eliminate your way to a cleaner environment,” Manchin said. “It’s not going to work. It’s not feasible. It won’t be done. The rest of the world won’t follow and Asia is going to produce about 90% of all pollution in the next ten years. It’s where all the pollution is coming from. Innovation is the only way to go. If you want a clean environment, then you have to do it through technology and innovation.”
“People want efficiency, but they also want reliability,” the West Virginia senator added. “If I can buy something that I’ve been using to replace it and it’ll do the same, if not better, and do it cleaner and cheaper, there’s not a bit of problem there. The market will change. But forcing it, thinking you’re going to penalize and force people before the technology is in place — I said if it’s not feasible, it’s not reasonable.”
In February, Manchin and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced the Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act which would prevent new federal regulations restricting which gas stoves Americans are able to purchase. Manchin said he expects the bill to ultimately receive a vote with Democratic support.
“Telling me I can’t buy something because you want the market to change and switch to something different and it’s not going to have a relevant change in the environment is absolutely ridiculous,” Manchin continued. “That’s when you’re going to get all the pushback. I’m going to be pushing back.”
“I can assure you in our committee, we’re not supporting any of the craziness.”