The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit agreed to yet another extension to the lawsuit brought by the Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) and the Pellet Fuel Institute (PFI) against portions of the EPA’s 2015 residential wood heater regulations.
HPBA “hopes to be back in talks with the EPA” said Rachel Feinstein, Government Affairs Manager for HPBA. In the motion
requesting the extension, HPBA explained that talks between them and HPBA had broken down under the Obama Administration, but after Trump’s election, HPBA is again “attempting to discuss with DOJ and EPA whether the agencies are willing to engage in further discussions concerning the Rule.”
The Trump Administration has been re-opening rule making on many regulations, but some observers say it will likely be an uphill battle for the hearth industry because the EPA is already contending with many higher profile rules.
In addition, even if the EPA were to agree to review parts of the NSPS, the rule would have to go through the notice and comment process that can take 1 to 3 years, at which point there could be a new President and a new head of the EPA.
The EPA can revise regulations at any point, with or without a pending lawsuit.
It can commit to a new rule making process on selected parts of the NSPS, but it cannot necessarily guarantee any particular outcome.
In cases of voluntary remand, petitioners can also lose their right to appeal.
If the case goes to court in 2018, the outcome partially depends on which panel of judges get appointed to the case and the result could be more unpredictable and potentially more favorable to the groups that intervened in the suit – the American Lung Association, the Clean Air Council and Environment and Human Health.
If the case goes to court, the best outcome for HPBA would likely be a settlement agreement that puts part of the NSPS on hold until another rule making is complete.
HPBA and PFI now have until August 25 to file their brief laying out their grievances with the new regulations.
HPBA is not challenging the requirement that when tested with cribwood, wood stoves must emit no more than 2 grams an hour as of 2020.
This means that all stove manufacturers remain under this deadline to retest their stoves to achieve 2 grams an hour or less under the revised test method.
All stoves that tested at 2 or under prior to May 15, 2015 still have to retest to be compliant with the 2020 limits.
HPBA is challenging the requirement that if a stove is voluntarily tested with cordwood, it must achieve 2.5 grams per hour or less. HPBA asserts that since there is not yet an approved test method, it was premature for the EPA to set an emission limit. HPBA is also challenging emission limits for wood and pellet boilers and furnaces.
|Stove manufacturers routinely claim
75% efficiency to be eligible for the
tax credit, even when stoves are far
below 75%. The average wood and
pellet stove may be around 70%.
Updated on December 16, 2014 – A short term extension of the $ 300 federal tax credit to purchase a new wood or pellet stove was signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 19, after having passed the House and the Senate.
The law extends a host of tax provision through Dec. 31 2014, making it almost entirely a retroactive tax credit. A two-year deal that would have extended selected tax credits through Dec. 21, 2015 fell through.
The tax credit, which started out at $ 1,500 applied to all stoves that were at least 75% efficient. The stove industry used a loophole to help ensure that all EPA certified wood stoves and all pellet stoves could claim to be 75% efficient. As a result, many consumers are unwittingly buying stoves that may be less than 60% efficient, or even less than 50% efficient. Pellet stoves in particular can be very low efficiency, saddling consumers with unnecessarily high pellet fuel bills.
Because of this loophole, the stove tax credit has long been criticized in the energy efficiency community as being dominated by “free riders” because the credit applies to virtually every stove and does not push consumers toward the most efficient ones. Instead of giving consumers an incentive to buy higher efficiency or “greener” appliances, like Energy Star appliances that help people save money, the government has been giving a discount to all wood and pellet stoves (other than uncertified, exempt wood stoves.)
Of the hundreds of stove models on the market, manufacturers have only disclosed actual, third party verified efficiencies for about 20 models and they are listed here. Blaze King is the only stove manufacturer who discloses actual efficiencies for all their models. To date, all the major pellet stove manufacturers have refused to disclose any actual efficiencies. Seraph Industries, a very small pellet stove maker, has disclosed their efficiencies and they are quite high.
The EPA, nor any other federal or state agency involved in wood and pellet stove education, warns consumers that they are not necessarily buying a 75% efficient stove, as promised by manufacturers who issue certificates assuring consumers that their stoves are eligible for the tax credit.
The Alliance for Green Heat has been a long-time advocate of a robust tax credit, but only for stoves that are genuinely cleaner and more efficient. The federal tax credit has never incorporated particulate emissions into its eligibility requirements.
Consumers who bought a stove in 2014 can claim the credit on their 2014 taxes, assuming they have not exceeded the $ 500 limit for residential energy improvements.
In addition to the federal tax credit, more states are beginning to offer incentives, including Idaho, Oregon, Maryland, Montana and New York.
AGH, May 22, 2014 – The $ three hundred federal tax credit score to obtain a new wooden or pellet stove expired on December 31, 2013 and it is unlikely to be prolonged in 2014.  Often, when a tax credit rating like this expires, it is extended the pursuing yr and made retroactive to the […]