CPSC Seeks Public Input On Gas Stoves // Illinois Bans Renewables Bans // Equipment Failure Disrupts UK LNG Imports
CPSC Seeks Public Input On Gas Stoves
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has voted to request public input on the health hazards of gas stoves, which could lead to future regulation.
“Richard Trumka Jr., a CPSC commissioner, was faced with outrage when he floated the idea of a ban in January as Republican lawmakers and other conservatives painted a picture of overreach by Democrats and introduced preemptive measures on gas stove bans,” reports Bloomberg. “Within days, the head of the commission clarified that the agency had no plans to halt their use, and the White House issued a statement that said the president didn’t support banning the ranges either.”
The CPSC voted 3-1 to pursue more information about the health and climate impacts of gas stoves.
“Today marks an important milestone on the road to protecting consumers from potential hidden hazards in their homes - the emissions from gas stoves,” Trumka said in a statement. “This request for information furthers our commitment to American consumers because step one in confronting a potential hazard is understanding its scope and the options for addressing it.”
Forty percent of American homes use natural gas stoves. Some studies have claimed that gas stoves present health hazards, though the main story touted in the press in January was severely flawed, as we covered.
But the CPSC says that it’s “not looking into bans” according to Alexander Hoehn-Saric, the commission’s chair. Instead, the agency is “looking for ways to reduce related indoor air quality hazards,” said Hoehn-Saric. The CPSC is considering new performance standards, warning labels, and range hoods as options to reduce indoor air quality hazards. Additional regulatory steps would require a full vote by the commission.
Illinois Bans Renewables Bans
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed a bill removing the ability of local governments to limit or ban wind and solar power, following similar actions in California and New York.
“The new law, H.B. 4412, sets requirements for utility-scale wind and solar projects and says that local governments are barred from having any rules that are more restrictive than the state rules,” reports Inside Climate News. “Local governments are required to approve any wind or solar project that meets the rules. Counties with bans on renewable energy development must rescind those restrictions within 120 days.”
The measure has upset officials in counties that have passed restrictions on renewables development. The Illinois law was necessary, according to supporters. They argue local governments have passed rules that allegedly oppose the public interest because they relied on misleading or false information about wind and solar. It is unclear if these supporters would welcome similar legislation for the construction of nuclear power plants.
Whatever the case, this law is likely to widen the chasm between rural and urban citizens in Illinois.
Equipment Failure Disrupts UK LNG Imports
The UK-Belgium Interconnector, a major natural gas export pipeline, temporarily stopped supplying Belgium and other EU customers due to equipment failure.
“Flows via the interconnector were already lower at the end of last week due to the higher gas demand in Britain. On Saturday, natural gas generated 53.6% of British electricity, followed at a distant second by nuclear with 13.9%, and wind at third with 12.5%,” reports Oilprice.com.
The interruption comes as the UK experiences a cold snap.
Despite the equipment failure, European benchmark gas prices and British wholesale prices traded lower on Monday thanks to comfortable inventories and a steady inflow of LNG across the EU. The Continent’s gas stocks currently sit at their highest levels for this time of the year.
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Will Biden’s climate plans bring union jobs? “President Joe Biden has pledged that fighting climate change will deliver millions of middle-class jobs with good wages to Americans with union membership cards,” reports Reuters. “But in the six months since passage of Biden's signature climate change law, a large majority of the $50 billion of announced investments in domestic manufacturing to support the clean energy transition has been in states with laws that make it harder for workers to unionize, according to a Reuters analysis of corporate and state announcements.”
Jeremy Stefek, a researcher at the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, has said that the Biden administration’s wind energy goals has a workforce problem. “Not enough workers with sufficient experience to meet the demands of the offshore wind industry are available, particularly as other industries, including other renewables, compete for skilled trade workers, Stefek said. Workers will require years of experience in apprenticeship programs,” reports Utility Dive. “Apprenticeships are a ‘core pathway’ for individuals to gain experience in the skilled trades, Stefek said, but the low number of registered apprentices is posing problems for the renewables industry — not only are fewer available, the Inflation Reduction Act also mandates their hiring for developers to take advantage of certain tax credits.”
Almost a dozen Asian countries have agreed to more pragmatically pursue reducing their emissions. “Japan and a group of 10 other countries in Asia have agreed to pursue ‘practical pathways’ for carbon neutrality through coordinated steps such as developing hydrogen supply chains and setting decarbonization standards while ensuring energy security,” reports S&P Global. “The agreement was reached as the group of 11 partner countries on March 4 formally launched the Asia Zero Emission Community, or AZEC, aimed at decarbonizing the region without sacrificing economic growth and energy security. The countries are Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Lao, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.