First page of the Restrictions archive.

Non-public talks yield consensus on key problems in EPA wooden heater restrictions

Posted by Earth Stove on September 5, 2014 with No Commentsas , , , , , , ,
In July, three gentlemen fulfilled in Canada for delicate, private meetings to see if they could achieve settlement on important sections of the proposed EPA wood heater rules.&nbsp Two represented regional air high quality agencies and a single represented the wood stove and boiler business.&nbsp They were ready to compromise on many troubles, but have been too far aside to attain any arrangement on a lot of other people.&nbsp Much more than a thirty day period later on, right after consulting with their associates, they flew to Washington and presented their consensus positions to EPA Performing Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe.
The a few folks had been Arthur Marin of the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Administration

Arthur Marin, Govt Director of
NESCAUM.

(NESCAUM), Dan Johnson of Western States Air Assets Council (WESTAR) and Jack Goldman of the Hearth, Patio &amp Barbecue Affiliation (HPBA).&nbsp The meeting arose from initiatives by the air organizations and it was agreed that only the principals of every institution would get part in the experience-to-experience conferences as they had been under a tight timeline and needed to maintain the discussions high-stage.&nbsp

The EPA was not component of these conversations nor present, and is below no obligation to adopt any of the consensus positions. However, it is expected that the agency is very likely to adopt a lot of, if not almost all of them.
Most of the regions of settlement ended up around offer-through, grandfathering, certification extension and cordwood tests timelines.&nbsp There was no point out of emission ranges in the document.&nbsp The EPA will put up the 3-website page consensus document in the official report shortly.
Jack Goldman, CEO of HPBA
The positions replicate an effort by the a few establishments to achieve consensus but do not always replicate the positions of all the groups’ users.&nbsp Some manufacturers come to feel that the HPBA has not represented them aggressively sufficient, and the consensus positions offer with every single technological innovation really otherwise.&nbsp For illustration, the consensus position is toughest on outdoor boilers as it does not advise any grandfathering or offer-by means of of unqualified boilers.&nbsp The situation on exempt wooden stoves is much more lenient: a a single-yr offer-via.&nbsp Even much more lenient is the placement on unregulated indoor warm air furnaces, which would get a 1-yr extension for manufacturing and an added sell-by way of year, for a whole of two a long time.

Janet McCabe, EPA Performing Assistant
Administrator of the Office of
Air and&nbspRadiation

The other major region of arrangement is that the swap to cordwood tests for certification must occur, but it is not possible to put into action right away.&nbsp Both sides agree that the EPA should move in that direction but a obviously described check method and a far more sturdy databases of cordwood testing is required.&nbsp However, the consensus paper is silent on the drawn out ASTM cord wooden fueling protocol method and alternatively proposes that a cordwood protocol be designed by a working team established by the EPA under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). This would be the protocol utilized to develop the database of emissions from cordwood screening.&nbsp It is unclear if this protocol could capture commence-up emissions, or how it would greater represent genuine world emission profiles in consumers’ homes.

The consensus positions produced no point out of pellet stoves, hangtags or a lot of other contentious problems.&nbsp Typically, concerns have been not described in the document since they ended up not integrated in the discussions.&nbsp For case in point, the concern of client hangtags, which sector opposed in their comments, was reportedly not raised by possibly facet.

An additional quite significant consensus placement is that all boilers that are qualified by New York (and tested by EPA methods) &nbspon the powerful day of the rule will have their certifications extended for 5 many years.&nbsp This might indicate that producers will not have to bear the time and price of retesting any of their current units for a five year period of time and as an alternative emphasis their efforts on redesigning cleaner stoves. &nbspVirtually all the exempt and unregulated pellet stoves are previously likely by means of the certification method and several wooden stoves are utilizing the “K record” to get new five calendar year certifications. &nbspThese new certifications and “freshening up” of existing ones would have offered most stoves certifications up to four years into the new rule.

If the EPA adopts these tips, it would supply aid to most manufacturers and merchants.&nbsp Even so, the EPA could nonetheless established Phase two requirements, which would take effect in 2020, as reduced as 1.three grams for each hour for wooden and pellet stoves.&nbsp Many observers feel that the EPA is not probably to require this kind of a low emission degree and some in industry say they would be relieved if the EPA settled at 3 grams for every hour.

The key positions of agreement are outlined underneath.&nbsp Preserve in mind that these agreements, if adopted by the EPA, would begin on the efficient day of the regulation, which will most likely be in May possibly of 2015:

one. Woodstoves:
a)&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Unregulated and exempt stoves cannot be made.
b)&nbsp&nbsp &nbspRetail revenue of all exempt and qualified stoves (up to seven.5 g/hr for non-cat stoves) cam keep on for one particular yr.
c)&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Certification of stoves that meet Sept 1 stages (proposed at 4.five g/hr) will be prolonged for 5 many years or until Phase two emissions requirements take influence.
2. Hydronic Heaters (indoor and out of doors):
a)&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Only New York certified heaters may possibly be made.
b)&nbsp&nbsp Retail product sales of boilers that are not EPA Phase 2 experienced – and accredited by New York – are not authorized. (New York&nbspneeds a thorough regulatory evaluation procedure for certification.)
c)&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Designs analyzed to EPA’s voluntary plan&nbspandlicensed by New York will be considered accredited for five years.
3. Warm Air Furnaces:
a)&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Supply a one-year extension to continue production unregulated furnaces.
b)&nbsp&nbsp Retail revenue might be allowed for a single year over and above the effective day.
four. Cord wood:
a)&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp The transition to twine wooden screening to certify new heaters should be executed&nbspfor Phase 2 but will require a sturdy database and EPA accepted strategy.

five. Oversight of Labs:
a)&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Labs will supply thirty times recognize of testing to states to let for federal and state accessibility to witness emission tests.
b)&nbsp&nbsp All certification info associated to emissions should be publicly offered.
c)&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Provide states with partial delegation of authority more than some enforcement and compliance concerns and prohibit them from action on other issues.

The previously mentioned summary does not capture all the element and nuance of these 5 areas of consensus.&nbsp Please refer to the original “Consensus Positions” for specific language that was agreed upon by HPBA, NESCAUM and WESTAR.

“We commend NESCAUM, WESTAR and HPBA for enterprise this crucial work and for their willingness to all make sizeable compromises,” stated John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Eco-friendly Warmth. &nbsp”We urge the EPA to adopt these suggestions in the NSPS and to provide the enforcement to quickly shut any loopholes that might emerge after implementation,” Ackerly ongoing.

The consensus positions may possibly give producers and merchants far more certainty about what they can construct and distribute in the months foremost up to the promulgation.&nbsp It is also achievable that the EPA has presented some assurance to sector about the probability of some of these provisions.&nbsp The EPA might have previously made a decision some of what was contained in the Consensus Place paper.&nbsp For instance, it is noted that the EPA had made a decision not to use cordwood for certification tests in 2015 months prior to the meetings between industry and air companies.&nbsp
It is most likely that most key conclusions on the NSPS have presently been manufactured or are near to last as the ultimate draft of the NSPS will be submitted to the Business office of Spending budget and Management in October.&nbsp Even the tips in the Consensus paper had been late for thought by the EPA.
This consensus paper might not make litigation considerably less probably, but it could decrease the quantity of issues that are probably to be litigated.&nbsp Longer offer-by means of intervals, for instance, in contrast to the extremely short types in the proposed NSPS, will lessen economic impacts on numerous little businesses, making the small enterprise issue much more challenging to litigate. &nbspFurther, this work in between air companies and the sector trade team that had been important protagonists throughout much of the discussion all around the proposal propose a a lot more collaborative connection can be forged amongst these parties to aid apply a new NSPS.

NESCAUM is an association of the 8 northeastern states, such as New Jersey, New York and the New England States.&nbsp On NSPS issues, Maine is not getting represented by NESCAUM and is taking far more pro-industry positions.&nbsp WESTAR now signifies fifteen states, from Alaska to New Mexico.&nbsp People states represent an even wider selection of the political spectrum than people in NESCAUM, but none have produced the open crack with their association that Maine has. &nbsp

Heated Up!

A Short Overview of Comments to the EPA’s Stove & Boiler Restrictions

Posted by Earth Stove on May 10, 2014 with No Commentsas , , , , , ,

The Alliance for Green Heat (AGH) has done an initial review of almost all of the comments on the new NSPS filed by manufacturers, states, air districts, non-profit organizations and politicians.  We read more than 100 comments and selected a few of the important topics to summarize. There are many more topics we did not address. Some key manufacturer comments still have not been posted because some manufacturers sent their comments as “confidential business information” (CBI). At the bottom, we recommend a list of the comments we think are most representative, thoughtful, concise and important to read.
We highlight some of the trends, areas of agreement and areas of disagreement that appeared in comments.  We were heartened to see the wide variety of organizations and companies that put a lot of time and effort into participating in this debate and we found scores of very thoughtful and innovative comments.  The EPA will be reviewing and deciding on all these matters this year, and the rule will be finalized by February 3, 2015.
Note: the positions included here are from agencies, groups or companies who gave a specific number or position  If a group only opposed a standard or said it should be stricter, we usually did not record it in this initial analysis.  Some positions may be more nuanced than described as this strives to be a succinct summary, not a full analysis. If you see any errors or misrepresentations, please let us know.
Areas of broad agreement
Virtually everyone, from industry to air quality agencies, supported the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) undertaking this New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) and regulating a broader range of appliances including boilers, furnaces, pellet stoves, single burn rate stoves and masonry heaters.  A few made very good arguments to include fireplaces (American Lung Association & Innovative Hearth Products, IHP). 
There is also a broad agreement on switching from crib to cordwood testing, but lots of disagreement over how and when.  Notably, a couple of big stakeholders, NESCAUM and NYSERDA, urged the EPA to continue using cordwood for Step 2 emission testing.  The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) argued that cordwood should only be used on a voluntary basis, under an alternative certification scheme.  Under this proposed scheme, stoves would have to meet a 7.5-gram an hour standard to be certified using cordwood.
Few stakeholders argued for an 8 year, 3 Step process.  HPBA and many companies do not support any Step 2 or Step 3, which makes the debate over 5 or 8 years irrelevant. Most states, air agencies and non-profits urged 5 years or less but at least 7 of them argued for a 3 year transition to a final Step 2.  The largest stove manufacturer, Hearth & Home Technologies said 5; Travis said 8.
Step 1 Emission Standards
There is also a lot of agreement with Step 1 emissions standards for both stoves and boilers. Industry is nearly unanimous in agreeing to 4.5 for cat, non-cat and pellet stoves, .32 pounds per MMBTU for boilers and .93 for furnaces.  However, some non-industry stakeholders are pushing for stricter Step 1 standards. At least 9 states and institutions are calling for Step 1 wood stove standards between 2.5 and 3.5 grams per hour.  States include Massachusetts, New York and Maryland and groups include Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), American Lung Association (ALA), and the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA).
Several stakeholders, including Western States Air Resources (WESTAR) and Massachusetts say that catalytic stoves should be held to a stricter standard than non-catalytic stoves.  Three California air districts suggest a limit of 4.1 instead of 4.5. Some stakeholders do not get into the debate about catalyst degradation, but simply do not agree with setting a higher emission limit in this NSPS compared to the last one. Others  believed that every technology should be held to a standard that reflects the emission reduction capabilities that have developed over the years.
At least 1 state (Oregon), 2 air quality districts (Sacramento and Sonoma), 3 non-profits (ALA, AGH and CESA) and 1 company (New England Wood Pellet) urged a 2.5 Step 1 standard for pellet stoves. 
There is wide agreement that .32 pounds per MMBTU was a good Step 1 standard for boilers though real disagreement between industry and others whether there should be a 7.5 gram an hour cap or a 18 gram an hour cap on each burn rate, the latter of which was part of the voluntary outdoor wood boiler program. At least 4 non-industry stakeholders urged a Step 1 furnace standard between .32 and .48 pounds per MMBTU, including AGH, ALA, NESCAUM and Washington Department of Ecology.
Step 2 Emission Standards
This is where things get much more complicated, and few stakeholders outside of industry specified what Step 2 should be for stoves.  Industry closed ranks around 4.5 for both Step 1 and Step 2, arguing that BSER can’t be adequately demonstrated below 4.5 because there is too much variability and imprecision in the test method.  Two respected industry actors, Dectra and Rising Stone, said 2.5 and 2.0 were reasonable Step 2 stove standards. 
HPBA developed an interesting but potentially risky legal argument that seeks to prevent EPA from implementing Steps 2 or 3, but still transition to cordwood.  They say “EPA must revisit and withdraw its proposed Step 2 and 3 limits, and in their place adopt an “off-ramp”  scheme under the statute’s “innovative technology waiver provision that will build a needed bridge to a new paradigm—standards based on testing with cordwood.”  
For boilers, industry appeared less unified than on stoves, and there was some coalescing around a Step 2 limit by some non-HPBA industry members. For example, BTEC said 0.15, Dectra said 0.1, Ecoheat Solutions said 0.19 or .06 and Rising Stone said 0.15. Tarm said 0.15 in 3 years. There was acknowledgement that if the Brookhaven Method were chosen, as many non-HPBA players would like, .06 would be too low because Brookhaven includes start up emissions. 
Sell-Through Provisions
One of the most hotly contested areas is sell-through, which would allow manufacturers and retailers to continue selling existing stock or even to make or import certain models for a specific time period.  The EPA proposed 6 months for certified stoves and nothing whatsoever for exempt products including qualified boilers that participated in the voluntary EPA program. NESCAUM urged a year for certified stoves. For previously certified models, HPBA is asking for a sell-through period of unlimited duration.
  
AGH urged 2 years for qualified boilers and EN303-5 certified boilers and many importers of EN303-5 appliances appealed for either a longer sell-through for their equipment or acceptance of EN303-5 as one of allowed test methods.  HPBA provided extensive detail about sell-through recommendations for each appliance class, and argued for sell-through for unqualified outdoor wood boilers.  Many outdoor boiler companies argue for a one-year sell-through for unqualified boilers and longer extensions for qualified ones.  Many, if not most, states and non-profits specifically urged that exempt stoves and exempt, unqualified outdoor boilers not be allowed to sell those devices after promulgation.
US Stove included some of the most specific proposals and justifications for a variety of appliances, from 2 years for pellet stoves, 4 years for single-burn stoves and up to 5 years for furnaces. 
Few non-industry stakeholders supported any sell-through for exempt pellet stoves.  Many pellet stoves are being tested for certification this year, to avoid the possibility that they will not be included in any sell-through provision.  In a newsletter, the HPBA criticized the “minuscule six-month sell-through provision for pellet stoves.”  Others asserted that pellet stoves makers have had years of notice that their products would be certified in this NSPS, and if any product would not need a sell-through, this may be it.
Acceptance of the PFI Pellet Standard
Acceptance of the Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI) standards was also a hotly contested area, with many inside and outside of the pellet industry taking positions on both sides.  While some pellet producers may not favor any standards, most agree that they are necessary but differ as to whether the PFI standards should be recognized by the EPA.  Many support thePFI standard, many want federal standards, many want the European ENplus standard and many want PFI to more closely resemble ENplus.  Much of the support for ENplus comes from the Northeast and includes NESCAUM, Massachusetts and to a lesser extent NYSERDA.  HPBA did not comment on the issue.
Test Methods
Test methods are another hotly debated arena with widespread industry opposition to many of the changes EPA is proposing.  Because there are so many detailed and technical issues involved, we did not try to cover it in this brief analysis.
Best System of Emission Reduction (BSER)
There appears to be wide disagreement over BSER as a legal standard. HPBA maintains that Steps 2/3 of the NSPS  fail to fail to reflect BSER for several reasons, and must be abandoned because within the range  of uncertainty of test methods are “arbitrary and capricious.” 
HPBA and industry repeatedly refer to the need of building up larger emission databases and EPA may focus on establishing BSER with a far smaller number of units.  Industry seems to have omitted a BSER analysis for pellet stoves. If cat, non-cat and pellet stoves are in the same section, BSER may not apply to each technology separately.  In what could be a significant policy shift, the non-catalytic stove caucus, who lawyers submitted comments under the “Wood Heater Coalition”did not ask for a specific stricter emission standard for cat stoves, but did ask that they have their own section, which could trigger a separate BSER analysis for cat stoves. 
We are not aware of any industry stakeholder urging a stricter standard for pellet stoves even though BSER is clearly way below 4.5 and the accuracy and replicability of the test are not in dispute like it is with wood stoves.
Many states and air quality agencies say or infer that they will accept something far less than BSER for Step 1 as long as its applied to Step 2 in order to give manufacturers time to retool.
Some stakeholders accused the EPA of using pellet boiler numbers to arrive at a Step 2 level of .06 MMBTU that they would then apply to wood boilers.  Many argued that no wood stove has achieved 1.3 using cordwood and the high and low burn rate calculation instead of the weighted average.  Woodstock Soapstone however has tested in an EPA lab with cordwood and without weighting the burn rates and that data is in the EPA record.  This appears to occur in other places where industry seems sure that EPA does not have data that it may actually have, or will have prior to promulgation. 
The legal concept of “adequately demonstrated” will also be hotly contested. HPBA has taken the position that even if a stove or stoves have been tested using the ASTIM cordwood test method, they “undoubtedly constitute innovative technology that has not yet been adequately demonstrated.”  
Change-outs vs. Stricter Emission Standards
A key talking point among HPBA members is that the NSPS may slow down change-outs because they will raise the price of stoves, and lead to more homes keeping their old uncertified stoves. HPBA developed a legal argument around this, saying that “EPA cannot show that its proposal is the best “system” of emission reduction, because it will slow change outs of the six million uncontrolled woodstoves still in American homes—an environmental consequence of its proposal that it has also failed to take into account.”
States, air agencies and non-profits also voiced support for change-out program but hardly any stakeholder in or out of industry thought realistically and specifically about how such a massive change-out program would happen and who would fund it.  Notably, of all the politicians mobilized by industry to express their concern to EPA, none expressed interest looking for funds to pay for it.  And, the predominantly Republican elected officials opposing the NSPS are the least likely ones to support public funding in a “Cash for Clunker” type bill.  So, while virtually all stakeholders agree that change outs remain a great idea, no one has adequately demonstrated that such an effort is politically feasible or likely, or why it would replace, rather than complement stricter emission standards.
Consumer Hang Tag
We expected the consumer hang tag issue not to be very controversial, despite the fact that EPA proposed to do away with it.  However, HPBA and every HPBA manufacturer we encountered agreed with EPA that the hangtag should not be required.  HPBA argued, “hangtags have been a minor headache for retailers because of their tendency to become separated from the appliance on the sales floor. … Moreover, experience has shown that instead of assisting consumers in making informed purchases, hangtags often confuse them. We also believe that EPA is correct in concluding that hangtags have become obsolete with the advent of the internet and its widespread use among consumers.” In another section of their comments, HPBA praised the success of the Energy Star program, which relies primarily on its hangtag to gain consumer recognition.  Several non-HPBA manufacturers supported the hangtag, but most avoided the topic altogether, with the exception of HHT who opposed it.
States were uniform and vocal about their support for continuing the use of a hangtag and improving the look and content of it.  States that support it include Alaska, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon and Washington. Groups that support it include AGH, CESA, EDF, NYSERDA, WESTAR and 2 California air agencies. 
Mandatory Efficiency Standard

The EPA request for comment on a mandatory efficiency standard did not attract a lot of attention, although some significant players urged the EPA to set an efficiency standard: EDF, Massachusetts, Minnesota and NESCAUM.  Oregon urged the EPA to establish an aspirational standard and AGH urged the EPA to ensure that it’s included in the next NSPS. HPBA said that they “agree with EPA’s determination that the promulgation of efficiency or carbon monoxide standards would be inappropriate at this time” and that “there is neither any need for nor data to support the establishment of such standards.”

Our recommendations of comments to read

If you don’t have time to wade through the more than 100 substantive comments on the NSPS, we have a few recommendations of comments that cover a range of topics in the NSPS instead of just one or two specialized areas.
  1.  The longest, most detailed and legal is from HPBA at 170 some pages.  Home & Hearth Technologies is a brief, concise comment that reflects key HPBA positions.
  2.  Many state agencies were thoughtful and detailed. Minnesota is a good, well-rounded state comment and Massachusetts Clean Energy Center is a standout for consumer protection and advancing wood heat as a renewable energy solution.
  3.  Among non-profits, we were most impressed with Environmental Defense Fund.
  4.  For innovation, creativity and thinking about the future, ClearStak is a must read.
  5.  For a manufacturer with thoughtful, independent-minded and concise comments, we recommend Dectra, a boiler maker. Rising Stone as another interesting independent minded industry voice.
  6.  Other, more predictably thoughtful and substantive comments are from Washington, Oregon, NESCAUM, WESTAR, NYSERDA and the ALA. 
  7.  The only state to speak up in opposition to much of the EPA’s proposal was Maine.
  8.  To understand perspectives of manufacturers that serve lower and middle-income families, both England Stove Works and US Stovesubmitted substantive comments. 
  9. Of course, we like our own comments and thank the law firm of Van Ness Feldman, who have a specialty in NSPS law, and who graciously represented us pro bono.
  10. Finally, we urge people to dip into the hundreds of passionate citizen comments that are an important counterpoint to the very legal, acronym filled comments of the primary industry, government and non-profit stakeholders. You can quickly scan a interesting list of comments by people who rely on wood heat here.

Heated Up!

Key Tips for the Proposed Wooden Heat Restrictions

Posted by Earth Stove on May 3, 2014 with No Commentsas , , , ,

The deadline for submitting responses on the EPA proposed new wood heater laws is in one particular 7 days, on Monday Might 5.&nbsp Shown under are some of the crucial suggestions that the Alliance thinks are necessary to advertise cleaner and a lot more productive wood and pellet heating in the United States. &nbsp&nbsp The […]

Australian Perspectives on the EPA’s Proposed Stove Restrictions

Posted by Earth Stove on March 14, 2014 with No Commentsas , , , , ,

Courtesy of The Firewood Affiliation of Australia In the US the federal EPA has not too long ago introduced a proposal to update the 1988 emission boundaries for new wood stoves. &nbspWhile the new laws is nevertheless in its consultation stage, it is proposed that it will be released as regulation in 2015 and will […]

An Open Letter to the Utah Legislature in Help of Outdoor Wood Boiler Restrictions

Posted by Earth Stove on March 14, 2013 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , ,

The Utah legislature is transferring rapidly to overturn quite reasonable and reasonable laws on out of doors wooden boilers. You should consider introducing your signature to the open up letter under, urging Utah to preserve the laws approved by their Air Top quality Board. Utah’s rules permit the installation of EPA Section 2 outdoor wooden […]