HPBA's Government Affairs Department is constantly promoting the industry through a rich variety of projects. Whether through the legislative process or our grassroots advocacy work, we work hard to get our members' voices heard. Below you will find some of our major projects that we have worked on, or currently developing.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has filed its final ruling on the Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Water Heaters, Direct Heating Equipment and Pool Heaters. It contains a limitation on Decorative Gas Fireplaces that is much lower than we had expected or that is reasonable. We proposed the use of CSA Z21.88 for the heating products and CSA Z21.50 and CSA Z21.60 for the decorative products. DOE has determined, as you will see in the document, to use an input limit of 9,000 BTU's per hour. This has the possibility of eliminating Decorative Gas Appliances from the marketplace.
The Libby, Montana changeout replaced or repaired 1,130 old, polluting stoves with new wood, pellet, gas or electric heating appliances. HPBA, its member companies, EPA and other Montana partners provided direct grants, equipment donations and in-kind support worth more than $2.5 million to finance the program.
Based on preliminary data, Libby residents are now breathing significantly cleaner air both outdoors and inside their homes. Average wintertime fine particulate levels in the outdoor air decreased by 28% in 2007 -- the first year following completion of the changeouts. The results are even more dramatic for indoor air quality with initial research by the University of Montana finding the air 72% cleaner inside homes with new, EPA certified stoves.
Today, several changeouts are occurring all over North America.
The USEPA's (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) is the program which governs emissions for wood burning appliances and is about to undergo its first revision in 20 years. Since this revision may impact all wood burning appliances, the HPBA Board of Directors has asked its members to partner with the association in the fight against results that would be potentially harmful for our industry. Our legal, research & development and legislative staff are working hard to influence USEPA's decision and outcome that would be salutary for our industry and our members. Our NSPS partners can enter our MyHPBA members only Solid Fuel Section page to see the latest developments in this process.
This annual academy is brought together by the Government Affairs staff and taught by staff, Government Affairs Committee members, and outside consultants. Our members and Affiliate staff from all over the United States travel to Washington D.C. for a crash course in grassroots advocacy, lobbying and to learn the nuances of our industry. Our instructors teach attendees how to interact with elected officials to press our industry agenda forward. We give you the tools to start your very own grassroots advocacy campaign!
A federal tax credit on 75 percent efficient biomass heating appliances, which expired on December 31, 2011, was reinstated by the “fiscal cliff” legislation, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8), signed by President Obama on January 2, 2013. The bill includes a “tax extender” for Internal Revenue Service Section 25C which provides a tax credit for, among many other things, qualifying biomass burning stoves. The extender provides a dollar-for-dollar tax credit of up to $300 on a qualifying biomass heating appliance purchased between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013. The credit claimable on the purchase or installation of qualifying biomass units is limited to a “lifetime limit” of $500 (and may be impacted by the purchase or installation of other products that qualify of a 25C credit). The credit for tax year 2012 is claimed on IRS Form 5695. HPBA recommends all individuals consult with their tax advisor for details on the applicability of the tax credit.