Trump Administration to change Obama era wood stove and boiler emission regulations

Delaying or weakening emission regulations will impact thousands of communities nationwide
The EPA is “taking steps to provide relief to wood heater manufacturers and retailers” according to a statement released by the EPA.  The EPA expects to issue a proposed rule this spring that could potentially weaken parts of the regulations enacted under the Obama administration.
This move is supported  by companies such as Central Boiler, the largest outdoor wood boiler manufacturer in North America, who has been aggressively lobbying to delay and weaken the standards that were to come into effect in 2020. But to some smaller companies who have already invested in the R&D to meet the stricter 2020 standards, the EPA announcement undermines the significant investment they’ve made in designing cleaner and more efficient wood heaters. 
Thousands of cities, towns and communities are impacted by excessive wintertime levels of wood smoke, posing health risks and undermining support for an iconic renewable energy technology.
It is widely expected that part of the relief that EPA will be providing to industry is a three-year delay in the emission standards that were  set to take effect in June 2020.  Republicans in the House of Representatives had already passed legislation for a three-year delay, but the Senate has not.  A court filingby the EPA said that it “intends to take final action on this first proposed rule by this fall,” and that would allow manufacturers to slow down their R&D and certification testing.
But the EPA can pick and choose which parts of the Obama era wood heater regulations that it wants to rewrite and they say they will issue a series of federal register notices asking stakeholders for comment and input on substantive issues.  Experts believe that a statement released by the EPA indicate that emission test methods are being considered. 
Environmental groups, industry and the EPA have been wanting to move away from testing and certifying wood stoves with crib wood – 2x4s and 4x4s – which has been the standard testing fuel since the first set of wood stove regulations in 1988.  All parties want to switch to using cordwood, the fuel used by homeowners, recognizing that stoves have been fine tuned to run better on crib wood, rather than cordwood.  This has resulted in stoves that may run at 4 grams an hour of smoke in the lab, but may be 10 grams an hour or more in the hands of homeowners. In a statement this week, the EPA said it is concerned that its regulation“may not be achieving the environmental benefits it was supposed to provide.”  
The EPA appears likely to accelerate the transition to testing with cordwood but industry seems to favor an ASTM cordwood test method while some states and others are developing a new method that reflects how stoves are used by homeowners.  This method, call the Integrated Duty Cycle (IDC) method is still in draft form and is a drastic departure from the traditional way that stoves have been tested since the 1988.  
The EPA could also decide to weaken emission limits for wood boilers, which would primarily benefit the outdoor wood boiler industry led by Central Boiler.  
Since the 2015 regulations went into effect, scores of wood and pellet stoves and boilers have been tested to meet the 2020 standards and most prices have not gone up significantly.  The 2015 regulations began a process of requiring that manufacturers test and report their efficiencies, and delaying the 2020 deadline would set back efficiency disclosures, harming the ability of consumers to choose more efficient appliances. 
States are allowed to set stricter standards but not looser ones, and if the EPA were to weaken the federal rule too much, some states could either stick to the original standards set by the Obama administration in 2015 or develop new ones. States like New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington are already battling long-term wood smoke problems and have started to chart their own course for wood heater regulations. If several states adopted a different cordwood test method or stricter emission standards, they could have a “California effect” of moving the entire market.
“We are very concerned that the Trump Administration  may weaken consumer and environmental protections for wood stoves,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat, an independent non-profit that promotes cleaner and more efficient residential wood heating. “Wood and pellet stoves are vital to help families affordably reduce fossil heating fuels, but we can’t move this technology forward unless they can burn cleaner in people’s homes,” he said. 

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Legislation repealing EPA wood heater regulations passes House of Representatives; Obama promises veto

29 Republican House members
sponsored the bill to repeal the new
EPA heater regulations
An energy bill passed the House of Representatives with an amendment that repeals the EPA’s new residential wood heater regulations.  The bill is not likely to pass the Senate and President Obama vowed to veto it, if it comes to his desk. 
The passage of a bill that includes repealing the EPA’s residential wood heater regulations came as a surprise to most in the hearth industry, as well as in relevant state and federal agencies.
The bill, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015, H.R. 8, was passed the House of December 3 with 240 Republican votes and 9 democrats.  In addition to core issues in bill, it repealed more than 20 energy and energy efficiency studies and programs, including the EPA’s wood heater regulations which “shall have no force or effect and shall be treated as if such rule had never been issued.”
The underlying bill, H.R. 1986, dubbed “the Stop EPA Overregulation of Rural Americans,” had 29 Republicans and no Democrat co-sponsors.  The sponsors of the bill are almost all from very rural parts of the country but members of Congress representing districts with the highest levels of wood heating did not co-sponsor the bill.  Most of the sponsors come from the southern half of the United States and likely reflect their deep-seated opposition to the EPA regulations generally.
Some of the sponsors of the bill refer to a “War on Rural America.”  One of the most vocal advocates for the bill, Congressman Jason Smith (R-MO-8) repeatedly says the EPA is regulating existing stoves, not just new ones. He said in a statement that there are 12 million stoves in 2.4 million homes, probably referring to the distinction between the estimated total of 12 million stoves and the 2.4 million homes that use wood or pellets as a primary heating source. 
None of the industry groups representing sectors of the hearth industry, including Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC), and Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI), supported H.R. 1986, and it is unclear if any major company in the hearth industry supported the bill. One small Michigan company, Eco-Fab Industries that makes Eco-Maxx outdoor wood stoves which do not meet EPA emission regulations and cannot be sold in the residential market after Jan. 1, 2016, supports the bill.
Hearth industry leaders indicate that they are vested in broad parts of the NSPS and think that a judicial challenge to certain parts is the best strategy for the solution they want. 

HPBA had mounted a legislative push in 2014, urging members of Congress to sponsor H.R. 4407that would have prohibited the EPA from setting emission regulations lower than 4.5 grams per hour.  Some of the members who supported H.R. 4407 became co-sponsors of H.R. 1986.

“Thousands of hard working industry, non-profit and agency officials put years of work into these regulations and they are truly a compromise of competing interests,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat.  “If no major stakeholder group is supporting the repeal of the regulations, why is the House of Representatives voting to do that?” Ackerly added.

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New EPA Stove Regulations Begin Cleaner Chapter for Wood Heating

Statement by the Alliance for Green Heat on the Wood Heater NSPS

Key EPA architects of this NSPS include
Greg Green, left, and Gil Wood,  right  and
Amanda Simcox. Gil retired on February 3. 
Overall, the EPA did a good job and released a fair rule that includes many compromises between industry and air quality agencies.  We think these rules are good for consumers and will not drive prices up substantially for most product categories, but will result in cleaner and more efficient appliances that will ultimately save consumers time and money. This is our initial reaction to the rule, which we will be followed by a more thorough analysis.

High performance stoves: The EPA took some key steps to address the lack of recognition for high performing appliances. Notably, stoves that test with cordwood in the next 5 years can use a special EPA label that will alert consumers that the device is designed and tested for use like the consumer will use it. This shift is possibly as important than just lowering emission standards for wood stoves. Along these lines, the EPA is also allowing stoves that already meet the 2020 standards, to use a special label so consumers can more easily recognize these higher performing stoves. We are, however, very disappointed that the EPA removed the long-standing requirement that all stoves have a consumer hang-tag that helps consumers better appreciate the basic differences between all stoves on the showroom floor.

Boiler testing: Another positive step forward is EPA’s recognition of the European test method EN303-5 to certify European style indoor pellet boilers that have been accepted by Renewable Heat New York (RHNY). Also boilers certified by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) will be automatically deemed EPA certified. This is another step to recognizing higher performance equipment. NYSERDA deserves credit for the R&D, test method and other funding that EPA and DOE should have been doing to develop higher performance equipment. These parts of the new EPA rule will help give consumers more options to buy cleaner and more efficient devices.

Stove emission standards: As expected, the EPA is staying with the de facto status quo for the next 5 years, at 4.5 grams an hour (g/hr). The 2 g/hr standard for stoves as of 2020 is fair and reasonable. As the EPA explained in the rule “nearly 90 percent of current catalytic/hybrid stoves and over 18 percent of current non-catalytic stoves” already meet the Step 2 emission limit of 2 g/hr. We hope that those manufacturers who have to redesign stoves use the opportunity to redesign to use cordwood and to reduce start-up and fugitive emissions. The optional Step 2 certification test for cordwood at 2.5 g/hr represents a very creative and positive approach by the EPA to move towards required cord wood testing.

Some independent stove and boiler companies played a vital role in broadening the debate and sharing key data sets that enabled the EPA to show that some stoves can already meet the Step 2 standards of 2 g/hr with cordwood. We are pleased that companies who participated in the 2013 Wood Stove Design Challenge helped the EPA and OMB understand that smallest manufacturers can undertake the R&D to make very clean and affordable stoves that operate well on cordwood.

Key issues not addressed: Some of the most important issues with wood stoves are difficult to address in regulations, such as indoor air quality from fugitive smoke and the ability for homeowners to reduce air-flow so much that the stove smolders for hours on end, which is often a nightly occurrence. Ultimately, we believe that some types of automation are needed to prevent the widespread consumer misuse of wood stoves. The attempt by the EPA to set a maximum emission level while the stove is on its lowest burn rate was a good start. We had urged the EPA to more formally address alternative tests for automated stoves that hold tremendous promise to reduce widespread poor operation by consumers.

Warm air furnaces: Delaying the standards for all warm air furnaces for 1 – 2 years was a mistake because some companies have little ability or intention of meeting the Step 1 standards. An interim measure after 6 months to distinguish between companies on their way towards meeting standards and those who aren’t would have been far better.

Exempt wood stoves:
We are very pleased to see that the era of exempt wood stoves is over. About 1 out of every 3 or 4 new wood stoves sold in America has been exempt in recent years and EPA had considered a weaker standard for them, but is now holding them to same standard as all other stoves.

Masonry heaters:
The EPA was not able to set standards for masonry heaters but we are glad to see that the EPA has charted a path forward to work with the Masonry Heater Association so that masonry heaters become a certified appliance category

Sell-through period: The sell-through period, set at 8 months through December 31st is fair for certified wood stoves, pellet stoves and qualified or EN303-5 approved boilers, but too long for exempt wood stoves and traditional outdoor boilers which should have come off the market sooner.

Electronic reporting: We were very glad to see that the EPA will begin electronic reporting for stove certification tests and provide more transparency for the public and access more data that is not Confidential Business Information (CBI) about stove tests.

Efficiency: Achievable efficiency standards are important in the near future and we are pleased that the EPA will finally require the manufacturers to test for, and report actual efficiency numbers not only to the EPA, but also on their websites. In practice however, many existing stoves many not have to retest for 3-5 years and it is unclear if they will have to disclose efficiency before then, unless they do it voluntarily. This is particularly important for boilers and pellet stoves that have a very wide range of efficiencies.

Renewable energy: We are very disappointed that the EPA did not mention the term “renewable” in this rule. The EPA Office of Air and Radiation should take into consideration that this sector has potential not just to make cleaner energy, but to use a renewable energy source and displace fossil fuels. Governor Cuomo’s Renewable Heat New York is investing tens of millions into the sector and integrates the goal of driving down emissions, driving up efficiency while replacing fossil fuels and offering homeowners an affordable, renewable heating source. In addition to setting minimum emission standards for lab testing, the EPA should adopt a more integrated approach to this technology that is being increasingly adopted not just by New York, but by other states as well.

In conclusion, the EPA crafted a fair and balanced rule overall and took some important steps towards testing with cordwood and recognizing those companies who take steps to build stoves based on how consumers operates them. In the long run, this new rule will result in cleaner appliances and a better foundation for renewable wood and pellet heating.

Full EPA rule and fact sheets

Wood and pellet stoves

Step New PM emissions limit Compliance deadlines
Step 1: All uncertified wood and pellet stoves (cat and non-cat) 4.5 grams per hour for crib wood test method

If tested with cordwood, emissions test method must be approved, and stoves must meet crib wood limit

60 days after publication in the Federal Register
Step 2: All wood and pellet stoves (cat and non-cat) 2.0 grams per hour, or 2.5 grams per hour if tested with cordwood (test method must be approved) 5 years after publication in the Federal Register (2020)

Hydronic heaters

Step New PM emissions limit Compliance deadlines
Step 1 0.32 pounds per million Btu heat output (weighted average), with a cap of 18 grams per hour for individual test runs (crib wood test method)

If tested with cordwood, emissions test method must be approved, and stoves must meet crib wood limit

60 days after publication in the Federal Register
Step 2 0.10 pounds per million Btu heat output for each burn rate, or 0.15 pounds per million Btu heat output for each burn rate. If tested with cordwood; method must be approved 5 years after publication in the Federal Register (2020)

Warm air furnaces

Step Standard Compliance deadlines
Step 1 Operational/work practice standards 60 days after publication in the Federal Register
Step 2 Emissions limit of 0.93 pounds of PM per million Btu heat output, weighted average. Cordwood testing is required for forced air furnaces Small furnaces: 1 year after publication in the Federal Register (2016)

Large furnaces: 2 years after publication (2017)

Step 3 Emissions limit of 0.15 pounds of PM per million Btu heat output for each individual burn rate. Cordwood testing required All furnaces: 5 years after publication in the Federal Register (2020)

Related stories:
Private Talks Yield Consensus on Key Issues in NSPS
Paper Undermines Stove Industry Variability Study

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Maine Governor LePage and Jotul Crew Up Towards Wooden Stove Regulations

by John Ackerly
Alliance for Eco-friendly Heat
On April 4th, the Wall Road Journal ran an op-ed from Maine Governor Paul LePage, a Republican Tea Social gathering preferred. It was a careless and sophomoric essay that will probably do small to advance the discussion about how wood stoves could be regulated to be cleaner and much more successful.

Maine Governor Paul LePage

An underlying difficulty with LePage’s op-ed is that it purports to communicate to countrywide wooden stove coverage but is largely an effort to assist Jotul, a well known wooden stove importer and company in Gorham, Maine. &nbsp
Governor LePage’s major argument is that the EPA’s rules will demand producers to devote so considerably money to increase their stoves that new designs will be unaffordable.&nbsp As a end result, as an alternative of purchasing new, cleaner stoves, far more folks will hang on to their dirtier aged stoves generating air pollution problems worse, not much better. &nbspThe Governor, like the house owners of Jotul, greatly exaggerates this argument whilst overlooking the massive positive aspects that the EPA regulations will provide.
The Governor’s arguments are based on shaky or inaccurate assumptions.&nbsp 1st, numerous if not most individuals in the market for new stoves really don’t already personal an previous stove. They are initial time customers and will be in a position to get a cleaner and a lot more efficient wooden or pellet stoves.&nbsp Next, the price of new stoves may possibly not go up a lot, if at all, for some makers, since some manufacturers are previously generating inexpensive stoves that meet the strictest standards getting regarded as by EPA that would not consider effect right up until 2020. &nbspOther producers are buying or building innovative technologies that are inexpensive and extremely clean.&nbsp Third, even if some stoves have somewhat greater charges, people price tag will increase could be far more than offset by gas cost savings from improved efficiency, a fact that Governor LePage overlooks.&nbsp Finally, Governor LePage does not dispute the enormous public overall health rewards of these rules.&nbsp
The EPA estimates that community heath positive aspects will be a minimum of a hundred and fifteen moments the cost to makers to increase efficiency, and as significantly as 262 occasions in the best situation.&nbsp (EPA estimates the community wellness positive aspects in the course of the first 8 several years at $ one.8-$ billion annually, and the price to sector at $ million each year.&nbsp Thus the community wellness return is a minimal of one hundred fifteen to 1.&nbsp
Bret Watson, owner of
Jotul North The us
These restrictions are most likely to be far more expensive to Jotul than to most other makers. This is since Jotul’s most well-liked stoves have more to go than other people to meet stricter standards.&nbsp And, it is due to the fact Jotul makes stoves making use of solid iron relatively than metal. Shifting to steel stoves or just including some steel models could be harder for Jotul due to the fact it is owned by a international organization wed to forged iron.&nbsp
None of Jotul’s most well-known stoves are less than three. grams an hour, which is one particular purpose that the business has been an outspoken advocate towards stricter emissions specifications.&nbsp Virtually all major stove producers besides Jotul have a number of designs in the 1.5 to two.5 gram an hour variety.&nbsp Jotul actively opposed a Maryland state program to give rebates to stoves at 3 gram an hour or considerably less, but buyers, stove suppliers, legislators and condition regulators desired a rebate program for cleaner wood and pellet stoves. &nbspThe plan was set up and has productively served hundreds of Marylanders get cleaner, new stoves and retire older, dirtier types.
A single of the most striking ironies of LePage’s op-ed is that he supports a common sector placement that wooden stove change-outs would be more powerful in decreasing wooden smoke than necessitating stricter expectations for new stoves.&nbsp Nevertheless, Maine is not one of the states that have offered point out resources for change-out packages.&nbsp To its credit, Jotul has offered a summer discount program for customers to trade-in an outdated stove and purchase a new Jotul stove.&nbsp
Governor LePage mentions that Maine has a $ 250 rebate plan for wood stoves.&nbsp We believe this and related packages are good, nevertheless this a single does not demand buying and selling in an outdated, uncertified stove when buying a new one particular. The Efficiency Maine plan has 1 of the least expensive rebate levels and greatest needs, this sort of as focused exterior air offer, so that to date, the software has offered out only one rebate.
The Governor also calls on the EPA to set up an incentive system for stove proprietors to purchase more recent models.&nbsp This is not a poor concept and some states do this, but not Maine.&nbsp The Federal federal government has had this kind of a plan in the type of a $ 300 tax credit history.&nbsp Business lobbies for that system but has by no means proposed that system only be open up to homeowners of uncertified stoves.&nbsp &nbsp
The Governor also suggests in his op-ed that his environmental-defense commissioner testified in Boston in February at the EPA’s only general public listening to.&nbsp His environmental protection commissioner, Patricia Aho, made really an effect due to the fact she was so out of stage with other state officials by becoming so vital of the proposed regulations.&nbsp Condition officers symbolizing point out companies from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Washington also attended the Boston public listening to and have been all quite supportive.&nbsp
1 of the most significant motives why Jotul has pressed the Governor, Maine’s two senators and others to appear to its help is because Jotul evidently doesn’t think that non-catalytic stoves, like the kinds it tends to make, can compete with catalytic stoves.&nbsp The Governor even said that the “EPA could effectively eliminate noncatalytic stoves.”&nbsp According to a stove emission database compiled by the Hearth, Patio &amp Barbecue Affiliation, the sector affiliation, there are equal quantity of catalytic and non-catalytic stoves that could be able to go a 1.three-gram an hour common.&nbsp If the EPA ultimately settles on a higher, two. gram an hour standard, there will nevertheless be an equivalent amount of catalytic and non-catalytic stoves that are very likely to pass, according to the business databases.
Governor LePage provided one extremely crucial truth in his op-ed that undermines his argument.&nbsp He cited a examine by Portland firm Vital Insights that was completed for the American Lung Association of Maine, an group that believes the EPA’s proposed rules are not practically rigorous enough. The examine located that 60% to 70% of residences in Maine have EPA accredited wooden stoves.&nbsp Of the number of individuals who use wood as a primary warmth source, far more than eighty% are very likely to have an EPA licensed stove in Maine, in accordance to this examine, which seems to be really professional and thorough.&nbsp This signifies that a wonderful majority of Mainers currently have cleaner, a lot more successful stoves and stricter EPA requirements would not consequence in that several folks hanging on to their aged, uncertified kinds.&nbsp In simple fact, these figures are evidence that Mainers benefit newer and far more productive stoves and have purchased them at a relatively substantial fee in excess of the previous twenty years.&nbsp In these kinds of a cold local weather, even if regulations ended up to result in a five to 10% cost improve per stove, shoppers are sensible enough to know that much more effective appliances are worth it.
The Governor and companies like Jotul that are aggressively preventing these proposed laws are utilizing scare methods and flimsy self-serving arguments that could be pro-enterprise, but are undoubtedly not professional-consumer, much much less professional-surroundings.&nbsp We are a non-earnings customer group that supports wood heating and we feel that a lot more and much more people must be ready to use this inexpensive and renewable vitality and decrease fossil fuel use.&nbsp These proposed restrictions will carry significant rewards for consumers:
one.&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Any increase in purchase value that occurs more than the subsequent five many years is likely to be a lot more than offset by gasoline personal savings from the greater efficiency appliances that shoppers will have accessibility to.
two.&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp These rules will ultimately require producers to disclose actual, confirmed efficiencies to the public so that buyers can better estimate what their energy cost savings will be.&nbsp (At present, most producers exaggerate their efficiencies or do not disclose them at all.)
three.&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Stricter emission specifications are necessary to help get wooden and pellet appliances into renewable energy incentive applications that will assist customers find the money for high performance products.
4.&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp The regulations will carry the American indoor and out of doors wooden and pellet boiler business into the 21stcentury and give customers many much more options of cleaner, increased efficiency domestic appliances.
Governor LePage has never ever been a friend of the renewable energy motion, and he’s not the advocate that this market needs to assist condition affordable, commonsense laws for wood and pellet appliances.&nbsp Moderate Republicans and Democrats will assistance commonsense restrictions, just like the stove tax credit and other national and condition wood stove applications.
We would urge Governor LePage and Jotul to start off investing in the R&ampD that will help make American wooden and pellet stoves the greatest in the planet.&nbsp Some of the cleanest and most efficient stoves are already produced here, and exports of US stoves are increasing. &nbspIn Europe and The us, innovation is rising that might begin to transform the stove market.&nbsp Shortly, we are probably to have stoves that recharge cell phones in a electrical power outage and that have automatic attributes to improve performance and decrease emissions with out the operator possessing to guess in which to established the air consumption. Pellet stoves and boilers will before long be linked to our smart phones and sensible thermostats – and be far smarter on their own.

A lot of in industry are battling for the position quo fairly than creating on a strong engineering tradition and great old Yankee ingenuity to construct cleaner, more successful and simpler to function stoves.&nbsp Wooden stoves have had the status of being way too dirty for also lengthy.&nbsp These new laws from the EPA are our greatest shot at acquiring away from that track record and becoming a member of the mainstream of the renewable energy potential.

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4 Myths About the EPA’s Proposed Wood Stove Regulations

In the weeks since the EPA unveiled their new regulations on residential wood heaters, many myths are starting to circulate in the right-wing media about what they mean.  It’s sometimes hard to tell if the authors are intentionally spreading misleading information about the regulations, or they simply haven’t done enough research to know that they are spreading rumors.  Probably some of both. 
Next week we will be taking a look at the language used by some environmental activists who want much broader bans on wood heating.  And sometimes it’s hard to tell who is on the right and who is on the left.  One off-grid newsletter was touting the benefits of unpasteurized milk, organic vegetable gardens – and the evils of the EPA who cozy up to big business and threaten our freedom to live healthy lives.
After reading quite a few of the articles decrying the wood stove regulations, it’s clear that they are feeding off one another and often quoting one another.  Many of the articles are from small fringe groups and websites, but some are from mainstream ones like Forbes and from ideologues at think tanks like the Heartland Institute. Here are some of the most common myths in the making:
1.     The “EPA Banned 80% of Wood Stoves” Myth: “Only weeks after the EPA effectively banned 80 percent of the wood-burning stoves money-saving Americans use to heat their homes, the attorneys general of seven states are suing to force the agency to crack down on wood-burning water heaters.”  That the EPA is banning 80% of stoves has appeared in numerous headlines, and refers to the estimate that 80% of stoves currently on the market do not meet the new standards that will come into play 5 to 8 years from now.  True, the EPA will “ban” the production of those models 5 to 8 years from now, but those articles often do not clarify that existing stoves are not affected and are grandfathered.  This writer also confused the timeline and nature of the EPA’s proposed regulations and the lawsuit.
2.     The “Replacement Isn’t Allowed” Myth: “Older stoves that don’t [meet new standards] cannot be traded in for updated types, but instead must be rendered inoperable, destroyed, or recycled as scrap metal.”   Another article simplified this by saying “trading in an old stove for a newer stove isn’t allowed.”  This nugget of misinformation started by quoting language about trade-out programs and then got applied to the new EPA stove regulations. 
      The “Sue and Settle” Myth: This is but another example of EPA … working with activist environmental groups to sue and settle on claims that afford leverage to enact new regulations which they [EPA] lack statutory authority to otherwise accomplish.”  With a wink, wink, the Federal agencies encourage outside groups to file suit against some perceived flaw in the way we live.”Such lawsuits … are nothing but an opportunity for the courts to take power and authority from the legislative and executive branches of the government since the courts supervise the settlements. It’s a way the courts can become another legislature.”  “This collusive lawsuit is intended to expand EPA authority to stop burning wood.”
Part of this is sheer myth and part is a skewed analysis of what is going on.  First of all, the EPA has statutory authority already given to it by the US Congress in the Clean Air Act of 1970 (under Richard Nixon) that was updated in 1990 (under George H.W. Bush).  The agency does not need to expand its powers and, for example, has the authority to regulate fireplaces but is choosing not to use that power.  Second, the lawsuit filed by 7 states and another by 5 environmental groups has nothing to do with the merits of the regulation, but only to force the EPA to issue regulations and not keep delaying them.  (The industry trade group, the HPBA, is also now a party to that suit.)  True, the states and groups suing are ones that want much stricter regulations; however, their influence on the regulations preceded their lawsuit and happened during 2012–2013 when they realized that the EPA was going to propose far less strict regulations. It was believed by many that the EPA had become too close to industry and too dependent on industry expertise and data during a time that the EPA didn’t have enough of their own resources to do necessary testing and research. 
4.     The “EPA Will Force People to Buy New Stoves” Myth: “Low- and middle-class families living primarily in rural areas may be forced to spend thousands of dollars to switch to newer units or use more expensive forms of energy in order to stay warm.”  No matter how often the EPA says that existing units are grandfathered and not impacted, this myth was going to gain traction.  There may be some local areas that pass “sunset” laws, like in Tacoma-Pierce County, Washington, where use of old, uncertified stoves will not be allowed as of Jan. 1, 2015.  But low-income families are often exempted, or provided funding to trade up.  Most people assume that this will add some cost to most new stoves (estimates range between $ 100 and $ 1,000) and that low-income families will be even more likely to buy and install an old, uncertified stove rather than buying a new one.  This is a legitimate issue and will undoubtedly get lots of public attention over the next year.
The EPA expects to issue final regulations in 2015.  Watch for a new round of myths to arise then.
For a sample of one of the more mainstream mythmaking articles, click here.

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