Introducing CEI’s The Surge: Gas stove bans, Biden admin blocking oil and gas leases, the Blackout Plan, and more

Photo Credit: Getty

The following is the debut edition of CEI’s new biweekly publication “The Surge.” 

If you are interested in analysis and perspective on current energy and environmental issues, then we encourage you to subscribe to this new publication.


Welcome to the debut of CEI’s “The Surge!” 

This new biweekly publication is the successor to the Cooler Heads Digest. It is designed to provide you timely analysis and perspective on energy and environmental issues from CEI and like-minded organizations.

We want this to be the premier source for those who want to unleash America’s energy potential and who recognize that human flourishing, not human deprivation, is the key to sound energy and environmental policy, along with free markets, limited government, and private property rights.

We will be archiving each edition of The Surge on the publication’s own web site (coming soon). In addition, each edition will be published on CEI’s blog.

I hope you enjoy The Surge! 


Daren Bakst
Director, Center for Energy and Environment 

CEI special briefing series: Defending the personal energy choices of Americans

The regulatory assault on gas stoves – and consumer freedom

There is an unprecedented attack on the personal energy choices of Americans. That’s why CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment is pleased to debut a special briefing series entitled “Defending the Personal Energy Choices of Americans.” 

CEI’s Ben Lieberman wrote the first article in the series “The Regulatory Assault on Gas Stoves – And Consumer Freedom.  He explains that the powerful public backlash against the idea to ban gas stoves led the administration to deny that it is targeting gas stoves, but the regulatory attacks have since been expanded and are now a key component of its all-encompassing climate change agenda. Fortunately, many in Congress are taking the side of gas stoves, and more to the point, taking the side of consumer freedom.

The House of Representatives recently passed two bills, one forbidding CPSC from moving ahead with restrictions on gas stoves and another doing the same to DOE. Notably, both bills were bipartisan, with 29 House Democrats joining all Republicans in supporting them.

In the spotlight

Now the Biden administration is targeting your next water heater

The Biden administration Department of Energy (DOE) has proposed an avalanche of bad energy efficiency regulations impacting home appliances. In this year alone, the agency has targeted stoves, washing machines, refrigerators, dishwashers, and ceiling fans.

As CEI’s Ben Liberman explains in a new article, the agency’s most recent proposal is for water heaters, and this week CEI submitted a coalition comment explaining why regulators are once again putting the administration’s costly climate agenda ahead of the best interests of consumers.

Specifically, the proposed rule would set new efficiency standards for water heaters and do so in a manner that threatens product choice. It is important to emphasize no two homes and no two homeowners are exactly alike – there are differing home sizes and configurations and venting requirements as well as different patterns of water heater use. Thus, having a wide variety of water heater types to choose from is best from a consumer standpoint. However, the proposed rule would limit options.

The Biden administration blocks oil and gas leases in Alaska

Recently, the Biden administration took two aggressive steps in its war on energy:

1) The US Department of the Interior (DOI) announced the cancellation of seven oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) that were issued by the Trump administration to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA).

2) DOI also released a new proposed rule that would limit oil and gas leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). The agency boasts that it “would establish an outright prohibition on any new leasing in 10.6 million acres, more than 40 percent of the NPR-A.”

CEI’s Patricia Patnode discusses these developments in a new article and argues that these actions are bad policy, and considering America’s high gas prices and inflation more broadly, they are even more egregious. The last thing this administration should be doing is intentionally restricting access to energy and thereby driving up prices.

The House, in a Bipartisan Vote, Passes Legislation to Help Preserve Vehicle Choice for Americans

Just over a week ago, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1435, the “Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act,” by a bipartisan vote of 222-190. Eight Democrats voted for the bill. The legislation would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from granting waivers to states that directly or indirectly limit the sale or use of new vehicles with internal combustion engines. CEI supported the bill and after passage Daren Bakst explained: “This legislation will help to stop the continued governmental attack on Americans and their ability to choose what kind of cars they can buy. It will also help to ensure Americans can afford to buy cars in the first place and have the means to travel where they desire, from visiting relatives to going to medical appointments.”

Former NHTSA administrator nominee still serving as acting administrator, raising serious issues

On May 30, President Joe Biden withdrew the nomination of Ann Carlson to be the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This was after her nomination had received wide opposition and it had become clear she wouldn’t get confirmed.  So why is she still serving as acting administrator of NHTSA? That’s a good question and one that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee has asked, along with Committee Republicans. Last week they sent a letter to President Biden stating:

…we write to express our deep concern with your decision to disregard the Senate’s constitutional authority on appointments by naming failed-nominee Ann Carlson to serve as the acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In circumvention of the Senate’s constitutional responsibility to provide advice and consent on presidential nominations, you appointed Ms. Carlson to lead the agency after her nomination to be NHTSA administrator failed in the face of significant Senate opposition due to her extreme policy views, radical environmentalist record, and lack of vehicle safety experience. Ms. Carlson’s appointment as acting administrator not only violates the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (Vacancies Act) but also renders the agency’s actions while she has held herself out as acting administrator invalid.

President Biden has tapped Strategic Petroleum Reserve more than any other president

Instead of actually addressing the root causes of high gas prices, President Joe Biden is depleting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Compared to past Presidents in their first 32 months of office, Biden has tapped the SPR far more than any other president (see the chart below).

In the week that Biden took office, there were 638 million barrels of oil in the SPR. Last week, there were 351 million barrels, which is about 287 million fewer barrels since he took office. To put this in context, President Donald Trump released the second most amount of barrels (50 million) during that same period during his presidency.

Photo Credit: Patnode

Featuring our friends

Center of the American Experiment study finds EPA’s Power Plant Rule would lead to blackouts

Center of the American Experiment recently published a study modeling the impact of the Biden administration’s new EPA rule regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The Minnesota-based think tank determined that these regulations would cause massive rolling blackouts at certain times of high demand in the Midwest.

In an interview with Patricia Patnode, the co-author of the study Isaac Orr pointed out “our study found there would be massive winter blackouts in the Midwest if wind and solar perform as poorly as these resources have historically in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Some of these blackouts would be so large they would blackout the entire states of Minnesota and Wisconsin at the same time.” 

He went on to say that, “Meeting the EPA’s emissions reduction targets while keeping the lights on would cost $246 billion in incremental compliance costs, this is an annual cost of $7.7 billion just for MISO, alone. That number is alarmingly high considering the annual net benefits for the entire country are just $5.9 billion, meaning the cost of these regulations for just one regional system far exceeds the expected benefits to the nation.”

More from our friends

Electric Vehicles for Everyone? The Impossible Dream, Mark P. Mills, Manhattan Institute
What Do Wildfires and Hurricanes Say About Climate Change?, Heritage Explains featuring Diana Furchtgott-Roth, The Heritage Foundation
In the Tank: Grading State Biofuel Incentives and Mandates, Michael Bruce, The John Locke Foundation
175 Ways the Biden Administration and Democrats Have Made it Harder to Produce Oil & Gas, Thomas J. Pyle, Institute for Energy Research

Recent event

The EPA’s proposed Power Plant Rule: Will it survive in the courts?

Last year, the United States Supreme Court struck down the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) based on the “major questions” doctrine. This week, in a Federalist Society webinar hosted by CEI’s Daren Bakst, panelists discussed numerous issues about the Biden administration’s proposed power plant rule, including whether it will suffer a similar fate as the CPP. Another key question discussed during the program is whether the EPA is relying upon unproven technology in violation of the Clean Air Act requirement that its standards be based only on the “best system of emission reduction” that “has been adequately demonstrated.” 

Regulatory tracker

The following are some of the most important and current energy and environmental proposed rules:

National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Regulations Revisions Phase 2
Agency: Council on Environmental Quality
Comment Deadline: September 29

Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks for Model Years 2027-2032 and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks and Vans for Model Years 2030-2035
Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (DOT)
Comment Deadline: October 16

Management and Protection of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska
Agency: Bureau of Land Management (DOI)
Comment Deadline: November 7