Air Quality Groups Intervene in EPA Lawsuit, join a growing list of litigants

Updated: May 31, 2015

On April 15, three air quality groups filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit that a hearth industry group is bringing against the EPA over their new wood stove and boiler regulations.  These groups said that their interest lies in “defending the Final Rule against challenges brought by industry groups seeking to further weaken or delay it.” This development is likely to make the suit more difficult for the hearth industry.

By May 15, at least 3 other parties had filed suit, including the Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI), Tulikivi and several fuel producers. PFI is challenging the EPA’s authority, under the Clean Air Act, to regulate fuel.  Tulikivi, the primary factory-made masonry heater company, is suing because they are not being regulated and want to be.  Unlike these groups with relatively narrow grounds for suing, HPBA will be raising many issues pertaining the Step 2 emission standards that take effect in 2020.

Add caption
The most prominent of the air quality groups, the American Lung Association (ALA), has a long history of both cooperating with the EPA and also being part of suits against it.  Their motion suggests that the EPA’s new rule could or should be stricter, but they do not appear to be suing for stricter emissions standards.  If the air quality groups had chosen to sue for stricter standards, they would have risked having the rule sent back to EPA for revision, which could backfire as a revised rule may not be issued until 2017 or later, when a Republican nominee could potentially be running the EPA.
The industry strategy may be precisely that –to send the rule back to EPA for revision, then to try to delay the revision until a more sympathetic administration takes over.  But this strategy also poses a risk for industry, as the revised rule could emerge even stricter depending on who takes charge of the EPA.
The hearth industry group, the Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) a loose amalgamation of wood, pellet, gas, grilling and outdoor furniture industries has not yet laid out the basis of its suit and is not required to do so until the DC Circuit Court sets a briefing schedule.  The date for oral argument is usually set 6 to 8 weeks after the date final briefs are due, and the three-judge panel for oral argument typically is not be announced until shortly before the argument.
 HPBA will be focusing on challenging the stricter Step 2 emission standards, which take effect in 2020.  
The other two air quality groups who joined the suit along with ALA are the Clean Air Council (CAC) and Environmentand Human Health, Inc.(EHH).  CAC is based in Philadelphia and focuses on a wide array of energy and environmental issues.  EHH is a small group based in Connecticut and has worked on outdoor wood boiler pollution for many years.  All three groups, the ALA, CAC and EHH, were active in the comment process on the rule.  Earthjustice, a public interest law firm that does not charge its clients, is representing the groups.   The Environmental Defense Fund, which had teamed up with these three groups on earlier litigation, did not join this intervention.
In the groups’ motion to intervene, they said, the “Hearth Association will likely seek to weaken or delay the Final Rule’s requirements, as their comments during the rulemaking sought to weaken protective measures required under the Final Rule. For example, the Hearth Association objected to EPA’s use of emissions testing as a quality assurance tool to verify manufacturers’ ongoing compliance with emission standards.”
One strategic point of this lawsuit will be the selection of the 3-judge panel, which is done at random.  Generally, insiders tend to consider Republican appointees more industry-friendly and Democratic appointees more inclined to support public health groups.  History has shown that judges can be less-than-predicable in terms of how they deal with threshold legal issues such as standing, ripeness, procedural issues, or deference owed to the agency, and their decisions on these issues rarely break down along party lines.  Although everyone will be interested in knowing the three judges that will form the panel, knowing who they are is rarely enough to predict how the case will turn out.
The new EPA rules cover everything from very clean pellet stoves to extremely dirty outdoor and indoor wood boilers.  Most pellet stoves and some wood stoves, for example, already meet the 2020 standards and are very affordable. The industry lawsuit is likely to focus on 2020 standards that some indoor and outdoor wood boilers will struggle to meet, as well as 2020 wood stove standards that will raise the cost for some stoves.  In the 6 months leading up to the announcement of the rule, the industry focused mainly on delaying the rule’s implementation for indoor wood boilers.
For more information about the rule, see “What Consumers Need to Know about the NewStove Rule.”

Heated Up!

Air Quality Groups Be a part of Lawsuit more than EPA Stove and Boiler Rules

On April 15, three air quality groups filed a motion to join the lawsuit that a hearth industry group is bringing against the EPA over their new wood stove and boiler regulations.  These groups said that their interest lies in “defending the Final Rule against challenges brought by industry groups seeking to further weaken or delay it.” This development is likely to make the suit more difficult for the hearth industry.

Add caption
The most prominent of the groups, the American Lung Association (ALA), has a long history of both cooperating with the EPA and also being part of suits against it.  Their motion suggests that the EPA’s new rule could or should be stricter, but they do not appear to be suing for stricter emissions standards.  If the air quality groups had chosen to sue for stricter standards, they would have risked having the rule sent back to EPA for revision, which could backfire as a revised rule may not be issued until 2017 or later, when a Republican nominee could potentially be running the EPA.
The industry strategy may be precisely that –to send the rule back to EPA for revision, then to try to delay the revision until a more sympathetic administration takes over.  But this strategy also poses a risk for industry, as the revised rule could emerge even stricter depending on who takes charge of the EPA.
The hearth industry group, the Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) a loose amalgamation of wood, pellet, gas, grilling and outdoor furniture industries has not yet laid out the basis of its suit and is not required to do so until the DC Circuit Court sets a briefing schedule.  The date for oral argument is usually set 6 to 8 weeks after the date final briefs are due, and the three-judge panel for oral argument typically is not be announced until shortly before the argument.
There is still time for HPBA to file a petition for reconsideration with the EPA.  The most likely scenario is that the rule will become law on May 15, 2015 and the HPBA will be focusing on challenging the stricter Step 2 emission standards, which take effect in 2020.  Other parties can still file a suit, or a motion to join this suit, until May 15. 
The other two air quality groups who joined the suit along with ALA are the Clean Air Council (CAC) and Environmentand Human Health, Inc.(EHH).  CAC is based in Philadelphia and focuses on a wide array of energy and environmental issues.  EHH is a small group based in Connecticut and has worked on outdoor wood boiler pollution for many years.  All three groups, the ALA, CAC and EHH, were active in the comment process on the rule.  Earthjustice, a public interest law firm that does not charge its clients, is representing the groups.   The Environmental Defense Fund, which had teamed up with these three groups on earlier litigation, did not join this intervention.
In the groups’ motion to intervene, they said, the “Hearth Association will likely seek to weaken or delay the Final Rule’s requirements, as their comments during the rulemaking sought to weaken protective measures required under the Final Rule. For example, the Hearth Association objected to EPA’s use of emissions testing as a quality assurance tool to verify manufacturers’ ongoing compliance with emission standards.”
One strategic point of this lawsuit will be the selection of the 3-judge panel, which is done at random.  Generally, insiders tend to consider Republican appointees more industry-friendly and Democratic appointees more inclined to support public health groups.  History has shown that judges can be less-than-predicable in terms of how they deal with threshold legal issues such as standing, ripeness, procedural issues, or deference owed to the agency, and their decisions on these issues rarely break down along party lines.  Although everyone will be interested in knowing the three judges that will form the panel, knowing who they are is rarely enough to predict how the case will turn out.
The new EPA rules cover everything from very clean pellet stoves to extremely dirty outdoor and indoor wood boilers.  Most pellet stoves and some wood stoves, for example, already meet the 2020 standards and are very affordable. The industry lawsuit is likely to focus on 2020 standards that some indoor and outdoor wood boilers will struggle to meet, as well as 2020 wood stove standards that will raise the cost for some stoves.  In the 6 months leading up to the announcement of the rule, the industry focused mainly on delaying the rule’s implementation for indoor wood boilers.
For more information about the rule, see “What Consumers Need to Know about the NewStove Rule.”

Heated Up!

Sector and Air Top quality Companies Spar at EPA’s General public Listening to on New Wooden Stove Laws

Most of the controversy at the EPA’s public listening to on their new residential wood heater restrictions was not about outside wood boilers or other unregulated heaters but about the conventional wood stove.
The biggest bloc of speakers was from market that appeared to have a effectively-coordinated, constant concept that these principles are sick conceived and counter-productive.&nbsp Most of the market speakers manufactured the position that the policies would like elevate expense of stoves significantly, therefore slowing the change from previous, much more polluting stoves, to new, cleaner ones.&nbsp They mentioned the resolution to wood smoke must emphasis on shifting out older stove, not striving to squeeze yet another gram an hour or two out of newer types.
Far more than a dozen air good quality officers and advocates spoke just as passionately about the want for cleaner stoves, expressing general assist for the proposed rules and arguing for a limited timetable for them to take effect.&nbsp Condition officials from NH, VT, MA, CT, MN and WA argued for the regulations whilst a single condition, Maine, sided significantly more with market.&nbsp Patricia Aho, Commissioner from the Maine Office of Environmental Protection expressed numerous reservations about the proposed rule, like strong reservations about a shift toward a lot more catalytic stoves.&nbsp Several condition officers known as for Section 1 expectations, which just take impact proper absent, to be stricter.
An assistant for Senator Patrick Leahy from Vermont mentioned the Senator was typically supportive and would be offering official written feedback.&nbsp He like several of the speakers talked about the value of wooden stoves for center and reduce-revenue buyers. A legislator from Missouri on the reverse aspect of the political spectrum said it is very clear that the “EPA is attempting to outlaw wood stoves” and that the EPA should not permit “environmental groups to be concerned in the rulemaking.”
A single notable big difference among the EPA and most state officials is that state officials also all talked about the importance of wood and pellet as a neighborhood, cost-effective and renewable vitality supply, themes that are mainly absent in the EPA proposal or website.
One steady conversing stage echoed by many sector presenters was that catalytic stoves executed effectively only in the laboratory and that customers did not operate them effectively in their homes, leading to surplus pollution.&nbsp A lot of in market called on the EPA to enable non-catalytic stoves to fulfill a more lenient emission common even though keeping cat stoves to a far more stringent 1.&nbsp Tom Morrissey, proprietor of Woodstock Soapstone vigorously defended catalytic stoves and named into question a report funded by US and Canadian non-cat producers.
While most of industry speakers supported modify-outs above tighter emission specifications for new stoves, one producer who tends to make the exempt, uncertified stoves appeared to advocating for ongoing ability to market these stoves.&nbsp The EPA estimates that about twenty,000 new exempt, uncertified stoves are marketed and installed each and every yr.&nbsp
Numerous of the companies argued for the need for promote-by means of intervals and more lead-time to comply with the new specifications.&nbsp Other stakeholders named for an end of the sale of unqualified outdoor wood boilers as soon as possible, with no market-through period of time.&nbsp
An importer of European boilers urged the EPA to also settle for the Brookhaven take a look at strategy for boilers with thermal storage and established an achievable emission concentrate on for that technique which involves start-up emissions.&nbsp A retailer of Central Boiler out of doors boilers from New Hampshire talked about his decrease-revenue shoppers who could not afford a competent unit, and urged the EPA to let him to a reasonable sell-through time period for his competent units.
A producer of fireplaces known as on the EPA to control fireplaces, instead of exempting them again, as the EPA proposes.&nbsp The American Lung Association strongly supported this, also urging that fireplaces be regulated.&nbsp Many associates of masonry stove builders urged the EPA to more function with them to make certain that their units could be qualified.
The CEO of US Stoves famous that the SBA and OMB had severe troubles with the EPA’s proposed guidelines and stressed how numerous of their consumers ended up reduced-cash flow residences that are very delicate to even small value boosts.&nbsp US Stoves and other individuals at the moment market quite a number of EPA licensed versions in the $ 600 – $ 900 variety, equivalent to the price of stoves in the seventies when modified for inflation.

Several companies, which includes the Alliance for Green Warmth, spoke of the benefits of shoppers having entry to third-get together verified performance quantities employing a consistent performance measurement and obtaining that amount prominently shown on a hold-tag on the showroom flooring.&nbsp The EPA proposed to remove the hangtag with no clarification as to why.

Heated Up!

Oregon Department of Air Good quality (DEQ) Joins Wooden Stove Layout Obstacle Associates

Today, the Alliance for Inexperienced Heat welcomes the most recent associate of the Wood Stove Design Challenge, the Oregon Department of Environmental High quality (DEQ). The point out of Oregon has had the longest and most considerable role in strengthening wood stoves in the United States, commencing in 1986 when it grew to become the initial state in the nation to regulate wood stoves. The steps of the Oregon DEQ paved the way for the federal government to enact restrictions in 1988, foremost to considerably cleaner and a lot more effective wooden stoves nationwide.

Rachel Sakata of Oregon DEQ

Oregon was also 1 of the&nbspfirst states to offer a household strength tax credit history for reduced emissions wooden stoves. Initiated in 2007, Oregon’s system supplies a $ 300 tax credit score for wooden stoves that emit up to four.5 grams per hour or pellet stoves that emit up to 2.5. For much more details on Oregon’s wood stove applications check out:&nbsphttp://www.deq.point out.or.us/aq/burning/woodstoves/index.htm.

Turning into a companion in the Wood Stove Design Problem exhibits Oregon’s continued determination to promoting cleaner and a lot more effective wood stove engineering. Thanks Oregon!

To see the complete listing of Problem associates, check out: http://www.forgreenheat.org/stovedesign/associates.html&nbsp
Heated Up!