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NY Post
New York Post
21 Oct 2023

NextImg:You’ve heard of New York’s ‘gas stove ban’ — new legislation wants to take things even further

New York’s leaders are doubling down in their fight against gas stoves.

A vocal group of legislators, doctors and scientists is imploring Gov. Kathy Hochul to pass the NY Home Energy Affordable Transition Act — just months after Hochul’s controversial move to ban gas stoves, furnaces and propane heating in new residential buildings in the Empire State.

During a virtual press conference this week, the agitated assemblage presented a report bolstering the argument against any kind of gas-powered appliances, period.

A bill floated by the group would effectively allow the decommission of natural gas pipelines and plants and expedite the transition away from using natural gas for heating or cooking in all New York homes, according to Gothamist.

The proposed legislation passed the Senate 39-23, but did not successfully pass in the Assembly, where it is back in committee with 71 co-sponsors, per the website.

The governor’s so-called “gas stove ban” has been hotly debated by New Yorkers and even resulted in a lawsuit from a coalition of business owners, workers and unions who lament the potentially high cost of electric.

But now, the new 600-page compendium released by the Concerned Health Professionals of New York and the Physicians for Social Responsibility is proposing even more aggressive action in face of the dangers natural gas appliances pose to households — not to mention the harms caused by fracking.

At every stage, fracking is said to release toxic chemicals that not only pollute the environment but also present a very real hazard to workers and tenants alike, according to the experts. Fracking is not allowed in the Empire State.

“My message today is that in spite of our statewide fracking ban, New Yorkers are still not protected from the harmful toxic exposures that fracking inevitably brings, nor from the climate crisis that fracking exacerbates,” biologist Sandra Steingraber, a co-founder of Concerned Health Professionals of New York, said during the conference.

The air inside homes with gas stoves have 50% to 400% higher concentrations of nitrogen dioxide than that of homes powered by electricity, per the report.

According to the body of research spanning more than a decade, the report’s co-authors claimed that fracking field laborers are exposed to toxins such as nitrogen dioxide and benzene.

Meanwhile, gas stoves are associated with 1 in 5 childhood asthma cases across the state. — referred to as the “terminus of the fracking pipeline,” they emit nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, benzene and other fine particulate matter.

“These vapors quickly spread throughout our homes and in some cases raise bedroom benzene concentrations above acceptable health benchmarks for hours after the gas stove has been turned off,” said Steingraber.

Chronic exposure to those substances can have negative health repercussions, such as respiratory symptoms or certain cancers.

Alarmingly, the air inside homes with gas stoves have 50% to 400% higher concentrations of nitrogen dioxide than that of homes powered by electricity, per the report.

Those indoor levels of pollution “can easily exceed health guidelines” and could even be considered illegal if they happened outdoors, noted Steingraber.

“Combusting fossil fuels indoors just doesn’t make sense,” said pediatrician Dr. Kathleen Nolan, who is also the president of the New York chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

“It’s dirty, smelly, unhealthy and unsafe. The contaminants are exactly analogous to the contaminants that come with cigarette smoking with the addition of the nitrous oxides.”

Gas stove

The coalition of industry experts called for Hochul to sign the NY HEAT Act into law.

If passed, the bill would also throw out the “100-foot rule” — that customers fork out a monthly fee for the construction of natural gas pipelines within 100 feet of their homes even if they don’t need them — and could, in turn, save households an estimated $75 every month.

For low-income or working-class populations — who often “bear the brunt” of natural gas pollutants due to living in “smaller, older, less ventilated spaces” — that extra cash could be vital.

“That is not insignificant for poor and working-class communities,” said New York state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who serves as the chair of the health committee. “This is money that they can use for their rent, for medicine, for food.”