Top New York Republican scorches state Dems’ effort to ban gas stoves: ‘An attack on working people’

March 28, 2023

Originally published by FOX News Digital. By Thomas Catenacci | Fox News

‘This is an attack on energy diversification, it’s an attack on working people,’ New York Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt tells Fox News Digital

EXCLUSIVE: The top Republican member of the New York state Senate blasted Democratic lawmakers for pushing a gas stove ban, saying it would drive prices higher and hurt consumers.

In an interview with Fox News Digital, New York Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt criticized the policy which he said was part of a broader energy policy that drives employers and residents alike to depart the state. He also said federal Democratic lawmakers from New York — such as Sen. Chuck Schumer and Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — are largely driving state policy.

“I think it’s ridiculous and I think the danger is that it almost seems comedic and so people can take it, you know, maybe not as seriously as they should,” Ortt told Fox News Digital. “It is going to increase people’s utility rates in the state of New York, it is going to decrease energy reliability in the state of New York and it will do nothing to fight climate change.”

“If we think that gas stoves are the reason for climate change — that’s just that’s ridiculous,” he added. “We’re not going to stop the polar ice caps from melting because my mom has to use an electric stove.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul backed plans to ban gas powered heating appliances and gas stoves earlier this year.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul backed plans to ban gas powered heating appliances and gas stoves earlier this year. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Ortt’s comments come as New York lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul continue negotiations on a fiscal year 2024 budget package that is due March 31. The package is reportedly slated to include a bill banning gas stoves and other natural gas-powered appliances from being installed in new buildings and new residential construction.

While the exact language of the bill is unknown, New York Democrats have endorsed prohibitions on water heaters, furnaces, clothes dryers and stoves that are powered by natural gas. And Hochul called for all new construction to be zero-emission beginning in 2025 during her State of the State Address in January.

“I’m proposing a plan to end the sale of any new fossil-fuel-powered heating equipment by 2030,” she remarked. “We are taking these actions because climate change remains the greatest threat to our planet, and to our children and grandchildren.”

In 2021, about 60% of all New York households relied on natural gas for heating while another 20% used heating oil, according to the Energy Information Administration. Additionally, just 14% of households in the state were heated with electricity, the vast majority of which was generated by natural gas power plants.

The New York State Capitol is seen on Aug. 11, 2021, in Albany, New York.

The New York State Capitol is seen on Aug. 11, 2021, in Albany, New York. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Ortt noted that state Democrats have pursued a broader climate agenda that extends beyond gas stoves.

“It is much bigger than just gas stoves,” Ortt continued. “This is an attack on energy diversification, it’s an attack on working people who pay utility rates. It’s going to increase their rates, it’s going to drive out employers, it’s going to drive people out of the state. And we’re going to have nothing environmentally to show for it.”

“All we’re going to have is less people living here, higher taxes, less energy reliability,” he said. “Our policy here in New York for a long time has been to export jobs and import energy. That is the New York energy policy. And, obviously, it’s been a bad one.”

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If the state passes the gas stove ban legislation, it would be the first state to take such a drastic measure. Several Democratic-led cities including New York City have implemented gas appliance restrictions while some states like California have tackled the issue through modified building codes.

Consumer Product Safety Commission member Richard Trumka Jr. has backed a federal natural gas stove ban, citing health impacts.

Consumer Product Safety Commission member Richard Trumka Jr. has backed a federal natural gas stove ban, citing health impacts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently accepting public feedback on the health impacts of gas stoves, but has denied that it intends to ban the appliance. A member of the commission said in January that he wouldn’t rule out a federal ban, sparking outcry from Republicans and ultimately forcing the White House to say it wouldn’t support such an action.

“There are climate alarmists out there — certainly here in New York and in Albany, and in Washington, D.C.,” Ortt told Fox News Digital. “I think we have to be able to push back as Republicans and people across the country to say we can have a responsible energy policy and one that’s environmentally responsible and one that is responsible from a state management standpoint.”

“When you’re in an emergency, there’s no such thing as bad energy that you don’t want to have. Whether it’s nuclear, natural gas, wind, solar, electric, you want as diversified an approach as possible. That’s going to keep costs down and that’s what’s going to keep reliability up and it’s what’s going to keep people safe and keep people here in New York and keep companies investing in New York.”

Ortt added that New York residents can expect a late budget based on the status of negotiations. He said energy policy is a factor in the delay, but that the main holdup is criminal justice and public safety issues.