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Column: Congressman Nick Langworthy

"Fighting the Gas Stove Ban and Protecting Small Businesses"

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 28, 2023 -- Our small businesses are essential to the success of our local economies.

In representing Western New York and the Southern Tier, I have made it a priority to connect with constituents, especially the hardworking small business owners who play a vital role in driving economic growth and prosperity in our communities. However, recent policy decisions by Governor Kathy Hochul and New York Democrats have raised serious concerns about the future of our small businesses. Something as simple as making pizza has become a controversial topic.

New York's electricity comes from burning natural gas. So when Governor Hochul banned new natural gas hookups and President Joe Biden hands down new regulations cutting natural gas, the only people they are limiting are you. Banning natural gas hookups not only threatens the affordability and accessibility of energy for homeowners, but it also poses a significant threat to our small businesses. Making matters worse, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection's proposed rules to ban wood and coal-fired pizza ovens are yet another blow to New York eateries.

During recent visits in my district, I stopped by four pizza restaurants including Picasso's Pizza in Lancaster, Local Pizza, Gianni Mazia's in Clarence, and Jerlando's Ristorante & Pizza Co. in Watkins Glen. I’m the son of a bar owner, and I know firsthand the blood, sweat, and tears put into running a restaurant. Owners across the board are terrified that these regulations will force them to change their recipes, increase costs and ultimately shutter their businesses.

One of the owners I met with told me they estimate that their energy costs will increase by 40% if they are forced to conform to these green policies -- and that doesn’t include purchasing new appliances.

In response to these pressing issues, my colleagues in the House and I passed H.R. 1615, the Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act, and H.R. 1640, the Save Our Gas Stoves Act. These crucial bills aim to safeguard access to safe and reliable energy. By keeping the government out of our kitchens and living spaces, we can ensure that consumers and small business owners alike have the freedom to purchase and utilize gas appliances without unnecessary interference. Instead of blanket bans and intrusive regulations, we must consider an all-of-the-above approach to responsible energy solutions for American businesses and households.

Our small businesses are not only essential to our local economies but also embody the American dream of hard work and perseverance. I remain committed to fighting for policies that foster a vibrant small business community, protect consumer choice, and ensure a thriving and prosperous future for Western New York and the Southern Tier.

Photo in text: Congressman Nick Langworthy

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