An Obama administration plan to limit emissions on new wood-powered heaters is sparking complaints from lawmakers in rural states who say the requirements will have a bad impact on their constituents who depend on the stoves to heat their homes.
The Environmental Protection Agency, which estimates that as much as 13 percent of all soot pollution in the United States comes from inefficient wood stoves and boilers, in January proposed rules to tighten emissions on new heaters, while leaving those in homes alone, reports Fox News
The EPA reports that there are about 12 million homes in the country with wood stoves, and about 9 million of those are less than half as efficient as newer stoves. Meanwhile, about 2 percent of homes in the country use wood as a primary heating source.
"Leave it to the EPA to impose more regulations on an affordable and renewable fuel source after one of the coldest winters on record and a costly propane shortage," said Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., who along with a fellow South Dakota Republican, Sen. John Thune, said their state's residents rely on the wood stoves.
Thune has written to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to ask that the proposed changes be abandoned, as South Dakota and many other states are dealing with a propane shortage and need to turn to secondary sources of heat like wood stove when prices go up on heating fuel and propane.
The new rules, if approved, give manufacturers five years to make their products compliant and reduce emissions by 80 percent. The devices affected would include outdoor and indoor boilers, also known as hydronic heaters, but would not affect outdoor fireplaces, fire pits or other outdoor fire devices.
In addition to the South Dakota lawmakers, others from Maine, Montana and Missouri have voiced concerns about the EPA proposal, with Missouri lawmakers cosponsoring a bill
giving all Missourians the right to heat their homes and businesses using wood-burning furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, and heaters."
Such states are coming up against seven states, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont, which sued the EPA
to include wood-fired boilers in its emissions policy.
On Friday, Maine Gov. Paul LePage wrote in an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal
that the plan could increase the amount of harmful emissions by making new stoves too expensive for homeowners to buy.
Another concern, LePage said, is that the EPA plan does not distinguish between catalytic and noncatalytic wood stoves, which have different types of emissions, and if both types are held to the same standards, noncatalytic stoves could be eliminated.
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