The Biden administration announced Monday that it is spending more than $500 million to help state and local governments adopt green building codes, a strategy which amounts to a backdoor attempt to phase out gas stoves and other fossil fuel-powered appliances, energy experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it is spending up to $530 million to help states and cities adopt and implement new building codes that are aligned with “zero energy codes,” which are defined as “a building energy policy requiring buildings to demonstrate net zero energy use based on measured building performance outcome,” according to the New Buildings Institute. The administration touts the initiative as a way to counter climate change while also delivering savings to consumers via energy efficient appliances, but the funding will actually facilitate an effort to phase out more affordable fossil fuel-powered appliances that has proven toxic at the federal level so far, energy experts told the DCNF.
“A big reason for federal meddling in state and local building codes is to pursue an agenda that puts climate change activism above the best interests of homeowners,” Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow specializing in environmental policy for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told the DCNF. “A big part of this is the effort to use building codes to push people away from abundant and affordable natural gas in favor of electrifying everything.”
The administration has made considerable efforts to nudge Americans toward adopting more efficient— and often electric— appliances in their homes over the coming years, proposing or finalizing two dozen new regulations to that end, according to the DOE. At the same time, the administration is also engaging in a broad effort to help subnational governments advance policies that “decarbonize” buildings, which centers on reducing the use of fossil fuels, primarily natural gas, to power crucial appliances like water heaters and furnaces.
The DOE announced in September that it will spend $225 million to help state and local governments adopt building codes that are in line with its electrification push. New buildings built under “decarbonized” code would not have natural gas hookup lines, which would thereby effectively mandate electric stoves and other electric appliances, according to The Washington Post.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reportedly considered proposing a ban on gas stoves early in 2023 after a dubious study published by conflicted authors linked childhood asthma to the appliances, with CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka, Jr. saying in January that “any option is on the table” when it comes to regulating and banning “products that can’t be made safe,” according to Bloomberg News.
Those comments on a prospective gas stove ban sparked considerable backlash, but the administration proposed an “energy conservation” regulation for stoves in February anyway. The DOE now states that it is a “myth” that “the federal government wants to ban gas stoves.”
The administration has not stopped proposing energy efficiency standards that would effectively force cheaper fossil fuel-powered appliances off the market. In its announcements of new proposals, the administration consistently touts the energy efficient appliances it promotes as a source of savings for consumers, even though most of these appliances have higher up-front costs than their less efficient counterparts.
“This is an example where the administration is not only wasting taxpayer money with a national debt of $33 trillion, but is also subjecting residents to ongoing costs that are not covered by their initial grants,” Diana Furchtgott-Roth, the director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Energy, Climate and Environment, told the DCNF. “It’s $530 million of wasted money—it is not going to reduce emissions, but it will increase the deficit,” Furchtgott-Roth continued, adding that the new spending will “pressure governments of states and cities into forcing consumers to do things they do not want to do and buy products that they do not want to buy.”
Americans “should always be suspicious when governments talk about ‘investing.’ It’s not an investment, it’s an expenditure that adds to the deficit,” she concluded.
Advocates of sweeping government action on climate change often point to buildings as a major source of emissions. The use of fossil fuels attributable to residential and commercial buildings accounts for nearly 30% of American emissions, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.
“Just the way Biden’s disastrous border policy is felt most acutely at the state and local levels, Biden’s green policies will not be the burden of the federal government which has no electric grid responsibility,” Daniel Turner, the founder and executive director of Power The Future, told the DCNF. “If these policies were so beneficial, if these electric appliances were such a preferred alternative to gas powered ones, the Biden Administration would not need to use the power of government to force them upon us. If they can get local governments to do their bidding for them, then everyone is equally guilty for plunging the nation into energy poverty.”
Neither the DOE nor the White House responded immediately to requests for comment.
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