- The Washington Times - Monday, February 13, 2023

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm once met with the leader of an environmental group that’s been a proponent of banning new natural gas stoves over health and climate concerns.

Ms. Granholm met in June 2021 with Jules Kortenhorst, the then-CEO of the Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute, according to a calendar obtained by the right-leaning government watchdog Americans for Public Trust through a public records request.

A Department of Energy spokesperson rejected the assertion by the watchdog that restricting the use of gas stoves was discussed. The official said the meeting was with an array of related parties for talks on a bipartisan infrastructure proposal, which passed Congress and President Biden signed into law in December 2021.

“Get the facts straight,” the DOE official told Fox News in a statement. “The June 2021 meeting with CEOs of American chemical, energy, transportation and electrical companies wasn’t about appliances, it was to build support for the NOW enacted $1T Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which is creating thousands of JOBS across red and blue states alike.”

While the topic of stoves may not have been discussed, critics of the Biden administration say the group’s access to top government officials fuels concerns that a potential gas stove ban is still in the realm of possibilities, despite officials repeatedly saying it’s off the table.

“Despite calling stories about the Biden administration banning gas stoves ‘ridiculous’ and ‘not true,’ Secretary Granholm’s calendar tells a different story,” said Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of Americans for Public Trust. “We’ve now learned that she consulted with the dark money group pushing to ban gas stoves. Suffice to say, ‘ridiculous’ and ‘not true’ proposals don’t ordinarily involve a meeting with the Secretary of Energy — and where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

Rocky Mountain Institute also has received millions in federal grant funding. The group was behind a study attributing gas stoves to childhood asthma that was cited by a federal regulator in his push to potentially ban the sales of new gas stoves, igniting a national debate over the household appliances.

Ms. Granholm promoted the study and said it was further evidence why Mr. Biden’s tax-and-climate-spending law, dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act, was needed to provide incentives for switching to electric appliances.

“We can and must FIX this,” she tweeted last month. “Through [Mr. Biden’s] Inflation Reduction Act, Americans will have greater access to Electric and Induction Cooktops: keeps pollution out of the home. Cooks food faster. Helps families save money.”

While federal agencies say outright banning gas stoves is off the table, DOE is looking to enact stronger efficiency standards as states and local governments move to restrict the use of natural gas altogether in new homes and buildings.

• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at rtouchberry@washingtontimes.com.

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